Earlier today, I caught this link flying by on my Twitterrific client, where the New York Times‘ David Pogue dissects – and smartly – GrandCentral, a phone service that many of us have heard about for some time now but has finally made it to “prime time” – or will now. At the moment, I figured this was definitely one of the articles we’d be hearing about for weeks to come, and I’m honestly surprised at the minimal linkage that it’s gotten so far on TechMeme, but not to worry.
While this isn’t exactly a PR or traditional marketing focused post that Chris or I would put up here, it’s something that I thought was worth pointing out to the readership here, and my colleagues. If you haven’t already read the article, or know about GrandCentral, you might be able to harken back to “hunt” phone lines, or maybe had one at one point. I, for one, had one a few years ago, two employers ago, and thought it was one of the more helpful things ever.
Here’s the quick and dirty, and then I’ll let you go read what Pogue has to say.
- You subscribe – for $0 if you have one or two phone lines to “hunt,” $15/month for more
- You start giving out your GrandCentral number to people
- GrandCentral then sends the calls – according to your preferences – to your mobile phone, your office phone, your home phone, you second mobile phone, your SkypeIn number, whatever
- You screen your calls, you have a centralized voicemail box, you are able to offer different “ringers” to your callers, and can upload your own mp3s for that purpose
- You’re now totally reachable – or not – whenever, wherever, without a multitude of telephone lines.
Now sure, this isn’t earth-shattering for everyone, but the reason it’s tentatively important to everyone is that it’s free, if you have two or less numbers you want to have people try and reach you at. It’s feature-rich, has a great Web presence, and is something that wasn’t rushed to market. I’m very psyched to see that it’s finally made its way to the end of a public beta, and the fact that Pogue, even with a few clarifying statements at the end of his column, was so high on it I think is a really good sign.
I’ve already signed up, and will probably end up getting the pay account so I can incorporate my SkypeIn number that I’d love to start using more often, so now all I have to do is print up some more personal business cards, and I’m golden.
[update 3/15] Costa Tsiokos disagrees on the value of this, pointing out how 700 area code numbers were created back in the day for pretty much this purpose. While I think that he’s right in saying that “if you’ve got all these numbers, you should be getting rid of some,” that doesn’t mean that people can’t be “stuck” in a position to have a work phone, a mobile phone, and maybe a mobile device from work, too. Even so, I think the service is valuable for those who have two phones, if only for the screening purposes and the ability to get that “hunt” working – but point taken.