Grand Central is a one-number service done (nearly) perfectly. You can take your GrandCentral number and point it to all your numbers. It does automatic call screening, forwarding and voice spam handling. During a call, you can simply press 4, and the call is now recorded. Like any good iPBX or VoIP carrier play, you can see all your calls, contacts and messages online. I especially like the Web 2.0 look and feel of the site, although I wish they would go all the way with a Web 2.0 approach (more about that in a bit). It's even adroit enough to put the call on hold for you as you switch from one phone to another. As a personal call solution, I have never seen better. Insanely great.
How does GrandCentral stack up?
- Technically, a definite A minus. I love how they have solved the problem of call handling, and takes a hard problem and makes it easy. Almost on the order of the iPhone UI design, from where I sit. I give them a minus because I think they should go whole hog and publish an API so I can mash it up. I can't begin to tell you the good ideas I have for that one. Otherwise, perfect, perfect.
- Businesswise, a strong B+. Real value here, and well worth my investment of time to learn how to use (and it's really easy to use.) I'm going to knock them for two points : they should start charging for this service... I would pay $20.00 a month for this. Come'on guys - make some money. Secondly, it is still a horizontal service, and replication of it isn't rocket science, so sustainable competitive advantage from the features looks difficult. However, it's easy for me to see how it might become entrenched in people's work flows, and there's many Web 2.0 data mining / social networking opportunities there too. They'll do alright.
- Buzz, A+. Call me jaded, but this level of excitement over a telephone service doesn't happen too often to me. Anyone who isn't jazzed about this service isn't paying attention.