Skip to main content

Grand Central

Having received an invite to Grand Central's Beta program I've had the opportunity to evaluate it for a few days During this time, I've been able to play with several of the features that it offer. At first glance, the Grand Central system appears complex and useless. This post should demystify the service and explain its uses.

So what is Grand Central? This picture explains the service at the most basic level:

Grand Central offers a single phone number, in an area code of your choice, which can be simultaneously forwarded to all of your registered phone numbers - home, work, cell, etc. Think of it as your universal phone number that never changes even if you change jobs, cell phones or your other phone numbers. When a call comes in on your Grand Central number, it is sent to all your real numbers and you can answer it from any one.

OK. So you buy the universal phone number argument but what good is it to have all your phones ring for every call? Grand Central allows you to control which of your phones ring for incoming calls.

Calls can be routed based on the classification of your contacts or be global routing. For example, you can choose not have work calls sent to your home number or send only calls from family to your cell phone. You can also send specific types of callers to call screening.

The next logical extension is the ability to customize your greeting for callers based on the group they belong to. You can also set a specific greeting for a specific contact. These greetings can be recorded from any your registered phones; so no need for computer-based solutions like recording a WAV file and uploading it.

The system also unifies all your voice mail on Grand Central. Your voice mail can easily be forwarded via email as well.

Since Grand Central is right at the middle of your incoming calls, you can use the service for call screening and also to record calls on the fly.

The Web Call button feature allows people to call you from your website or blog without knowing your Grand Central number. This is similar to other anonymizing services like Jangl. I've setup this feature on my blog (but it's sent straight to voice mail). Try leaving me a voice mail on my Grand Central number instead of leaving a text based comment.

I've just highlighted some of the best features of Grand Central's services here. They have more details on their web site. As of now, the services are in beta and free but this is definitely a powerful service. It's no wonder Google acquired Grand Central recently!

Technorati Tags: , ,


Popular posts from this blog

FCC Aproves Sirius-XM Merger

This has been a long time coming but finally the FCC has finally approved the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio with XM Satellite Radio . The combined entity is pretty much a monopoly in the satellite radio space but they are still competing with terrestrial radio. Either way, their stocks, NASDAQ:SIRI and NASDAQ:XMSR should get a good boost on Monday. Yahoo! Finance Quote for SIRI Quote for XMSR

Migrating from Palm Calendar to Google Calendar and iPhone

Here are the free steps to migrate from Palm's date book (or Pimlico's DateBk6 ) calendar to Google calendar for full iPhone sync. First, sync Palm with Palm Desktop . Next, open Palm Desktop, select the Calendar view, navigate to File | Export, select Export Type as Date Book Archive, Range as All and provide a file name. This will export the calendar data as Date Book Archive (.dba). There's a paid tool called DBA2CSV that converts .dba files to .csv files. However this can be done for free using Yahoo Calendar. Login into Yahoo Calendar and via Settings/Import, import the .dba file. It helps to have an empty Yahoo Calendar. Via Settings/Export, export the calendar as .csv file. Login to Google Calendar (also works with Google Apps For Your Domain GAFYD Calendar) and import the .csv file into any of the calendars. It is a good idea to create a test calendar and test the import before importing into your real calendar. That way if anything goes wrong, you can delet

Lead Tide SIM Reader

I recently came across a cheap little device for reading SIM cards . It was available from Meritline for less than USD 5 with free shipping. Curious to see what it was like, I ordered one. The device came in a small package along with a mini CD containing drivers. The packaging advertised the device as the LEAD TIDE Sim reader . Like most things these days, it's made in China. The device has a USB 1.1 interface. There was no product code or number anywhere on the packaging. Installing the drivers for the device turned out to be harder than I expected. The mini CD's autorun installed some stuff but Microsoft Windows XP couldn't install any suitable driver for the device. The mini-CD had several top level directories with what appeared to be product codes but I couldn't match any to the device itself since it had no product code. Google searches revealed that I wasn't alone in my endeavors to get the device working . Further digging revealed pointers to some thir