Closer to telecoms: Google acquires Grand Central

Google has just announced the acquisition of communications service GrandCentral. TechCrunch broke the news about the acquisition last week and now has the price tag at about $50 m.

According to Google's official blog, GrandCentral is "an innovative service that lets users integrate all of their existing phone numbers and voice mailboxes into one account, which can be accessed from the web. We think GrandCentral's technology fits well into Google's efforts to provide services that enhance the collaborative exchange of information between our users." It is bascially the evolution of the one-number concept which people like Accessline and others have been in for 10 years and more.

However, Google can possibly connect this somewhat more sensibly: Gmail and Google Talk fit smoothly and it will also ramp up the increasing interweave between the different media. In the voice area, Google was rather under-represented and Grand Central's very feature-rich product will be most welcome as it could give Google a bit of an edge here. Also, Google is arguably better suited than some others who tried to reach out directly to mainstream consumers (the likes of Accessline are mainly addressing the enterprise market) as it has a much better grip on alternative business models.

They of course have to quickly address capacity constraints: Grand Central has now moved to an "by invitation only" model because of shortages. Google will be able to help out there, I suppose.

Interesting move anyway...

1 comment:

  1. Is there a comparison of services available matching Grand Central against other virtual providers such as FreedomVoice (freedomvoice.com). I was looking at Freedomvoice until I came across your blog.

    If Google are buying Grand Central does that necessarily mean that in short measure the competitors to Grand Central are going to have a problem matching their newly attained leverage?