I’m still worried about Google’s acquisition of Grand Central, a “personal pbx” system that gives you an online voicemail box and rings as many phones as you want with one phone number. It’s a visionary service that promises to change the whole game of phone numbers that people use… with Grand Central you can have one phone number that you keep forever, no matter where you move, or what your cell phone company does.
This great Web 2.0 service has been completely stagnant since Google purchased them 18 months ago. No updates, no support, no communication with users and lots of service issues. Since I rely on this service for my business, I’m very worried about its future. Until now, I’ve been optimistic that Google will do something great with it, in due time. But this WSJ article about Google’s recent cutbacks strikes new fear into my heart:
To better manage projects in development, top executives asked engineering vice presidents to rank the 20 most promising projects within their units; those that made the lists were granted the bulk of the resources, say former Google product managers. Projects not on the lists were far less likely than before to get technical support.
Is Grand Central one of the top tier “potentially profitable” projects that they’ve got going? I sure hope so. I know I would pay $10-20/month to have a premium version of this ad infinitum. If there were a free version I would sign up all of my friends, too!
The possibilities for Grand Central’s use are endless. You could turn the G1 into so much more, you could beat out upcoming competitors like Ribbit, you could have a freaking iPhone app besides just a dialer, you could integrate it into Gmail/G-chat to form one cohesive communications product… the list goes on!
So if someone from Google is reading this (Wesley Chan, Product Manager?), please know that there are Grand Central fans out there who believe in this project. Please let it thrive!