Google Buys GrandCentral

Google has acquired telephone service GrandCentral, and has taken the service “invite only” as they incorporate GC’s technology into Google.

For existing customers, the service will continue largely unchanged. The big difference is that you’ll no longer be able to upload your own “ringback” tones, but instead can choose from ones Google has licensed.

Consumerist readers will be familiar with GrandCentral’s many spiffy features, as well as its ability to combine with T-Mobile’s 5 Faves program to form a sort of free calling Voltron. Consumers who are interested in signing up for the new Googlified GrandCentral can sign up for an invite.

All aboard [Google Blog]

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  1. tcp100 says:

    This is a very good thing.. Only thing keeping me from using GC was the fact that it wasn’t backed by a large company, and couldn’t be relied upon to still be around. Excellent news.

  2. Xabora says:

    And so… Google continues its conquest to take over the world!

    Spiffy tho. :D

  3. holocron says:

    I’ll have an eBay listing auctioning off my invites shortly… ;-)

  4. djxspike says:

    Off topic: is “Mergers and Acquisitions” a homage to American Psycho…?

  5. holocron says:

    @tcp100: And yes, this was holding me back too. I’ve had the number and use it mainly for my office calls to my mobile. Now that there is some backing, I think I’ll complete the conversion and finally ditch AT&T wireless and go with a pay-as-you-go plan.

    The down side is that early yesterday I was on GC about to set up a number for my wife. Now I’ll have to sell her an invite. ;-)

  6. VA_White says:

    My hubby and I just signed up – no kidding – three days ago. Right under the wire. Whew!

  7. tvh2k says:

    Agreed, I feel more comfortable using my GC number now that a large company is behind it. I do worry for my privacy, however.

  8. kingoman says:

    Excellent news for me, as well. I considered signing up for GC but didn’t want to commit to spending the money forever.

    Now that Google will own them, the privacy concerns easily trump any cost worry. I won’t go near them, problem solved!

  9. holocron says:

    @tvh2k: As opposed to wondering about your privacy from any of the telecom companies you use now?

  10. kingoman says:

    @holocron: True, however, nobody (yet) has the collating capability that Google is building.

  11. ceo says:

    $50 million dollars for the acquision, reportedly. Not bad. Not bad at all.

    This is exactly why I would NOT use GrandCentral or similar services as my business number or main contant number.

    Services come and go. With no number portability with GrandCentral, if GC/Google decent to dump the service– or rate jack– you and your number are f*cked. And, since you can’t transfer your number elsewhere, you loose all of the prospective clients you’ve ever given your number out to.

  12. Ravenwaift says:

    I’ve had GC for a while and I really like it. However, they recently changed their service a little. Now when you press 4 to record it says “call recording on” so that you know it is recording and the other person knows too.

    This sucks for me. I live in a “one-party” state, and it is going to be a lot harder to surreptitiously record my landlord.

  13. mbrutsch says:

    As long as they actually invite people, then it might be ok. Hopefully, they won’t repeat their mistakes from JotSpot, which had a growing business and a thriving third-party developer community until Google bought them. Since then, they’ve not allowed any new users whatsoever, and many of the third-party vendors have gone tits-up, as well as companies that have had to migrate elsewhere because they could not expand their operations.

  14. KitN says:

    I’ve been using Grand Central on and off since they released the beta to the public. I, too, was concerned about making my GC number my main number because of concerns about the longevity and direction of the service.

    I wasn’t too pleased when I got an email from GC about being aquired by Google. Google seems to have closed the beta testing to “Invite Only” as they always do with their stuff and has added the notice during a call when the call is being recorded. I live in a “one party” state so the message is unnecessary.

    Google has been a little shaky when it comes to privacy so I’m not so sure about this move… I see them going crazy with new fees and charges for stuff that’s currently free. Heck, they’re now pushing their own ringtones on us and no longer allow us to upload our own… What else are they going to be rate-raping us on next? Hmmm…