Monday, July 2, 2007

Google Acquires GrandCentral for Advanced Calling Features

Google has acquired GrandCentral Communications, a start-up developing a service that integrates a user's multiple telephone numbers and multiple voicemail boxes into one account, and then adds advanced capabilities. GrandCentral's mission has been to offer "one number that you keep for life," tying together landline and mobile accounts delivered by other carriers. The service is currently in beta testing. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Capabilities of the GrandCentral service include:

  • Call Screening -- for incoming call, GrandCentral checks your address book to give you the name associated with the calling number. If it is a new phone, GrandCentral can ask the person for their name the first time they call.

  • "ListenIn" -- the ability to listen to a voicemail while it is being recorded.

  • Call Record -- Record calls on the fly and access recordings online/

  • Block Callers -- Stops unwanted callers.

  • Notifications -- Voicemail notifications via email or SMS.

  • Ring Different Phones -- one number that rings different phones based on who's calling.

  • Greetings -- Personalize your voicemail greetings by caller or group.

  • RingShare -- Choose ringback tones for specific callers.

  • WebCall Button -- Let people call you from a web page without showing your number

  • CallSwitch -- switch phones in the middle of a call

  • Click2Call -- call from your address book and save your typing

  • Mobile Access --Visual voicemail for your mobile phone.
  • GrandCentral was founded by Craig Walker (CEO) and Vincent Paquet (COO). In 2001, Craig Walker became the CEO of Dialpad Communications, where he led the company out of bankruptcy and eventually to its acquisition by Yahoo! in 2005. He then became Senior Director of VoIP with the Yahoo! Messenger group.

    Vincent Paquet previously was Director of Business Development at Yahoo! in the voice communications group. He too joined Yahoo! when it acquired Dialpad Communications. At Dialpad, he was VP of Business Development and Marketing.

  • The Google Talk VoIP service first launched in August 2005.