Grand Central

Google recently bought out a company whose services I find myself quite impressed with. Grand Central is a company that will give you a “phone number for life.” But that’s not the half of it. Part of the service includes the ability to ring multiple phones at the same time. You can put up to five number into the system and when you get a call it will ring all of them and transfer the call to the first number that answers it. You can even have an address book where you can define groups of people (by default there’s 4 groups: friends, family, work, other). You can set preferences about which phones ring for which groups. So I can set it that friends and family ring my home phone, but work and others (anybody not in your address book is in the others category) don’t. It has a call recording feature (a message is announced to both parties); voice mails are retrievable by phone or online; you can set up a temporary number to forward calls to in addition to the configured 5 via phone or online; you can set ringback and voice mail messages specific to each group; and I’m sure there’s a few that I’m not listing. All and all it looks to be a really nice service. It’s currently in beta (though most of Google is in beta 🙂 ) and invite only, but free. They’ve stated that there will always be a free version, but someday they will start charging for premium features. As this develops, I can see it being a really good fit with Google Apps (that’s probably why they bought it).