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Simplify with GrandCentral VoIP Service

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's well known that VoIP lets new companies offer neat features that just aren't available with your phone company. GrandCentral, for example, wants to give you a free phone number that you can use to organize your phone identities. It started as a voicemail service, but has grown to include some nifty options.

Basically, you can add any number of "real" phone numbers and when someone calls your GrandCentral number, all those phones will ring. Let's say you're at work and your phones ring. Rather than picking up your mobile phone and possibly incurring charges for incoming minutes (or draining the battery), you can just pick up the landline. Then if you actually do have to leave your cubicle, GrandCentral lets you seamlessly transfer the call to your cellphone. The calling party never has to know which phone you're talking on!

For those worried about their privacy, you get much more control over your call screening, even if you don't have CallerID. Any time you answer a GrandCentral call:
First, we'll tell you who's on the line ('Call from Ted Baker'). Then, we'll present you with:
1) accept it,
2) send it to voicemail,
3) ListenInTM on the voicemail, or
4) accept and record the call
You can also press 4 at any time during the call to start recording. With ListenInTM, you'll get to hear the person record the voicemail and decide if you want to take the call immediately. Through the web-based control panel, you can organize your contacts into groups and setup automatic behaviors and filters for each incoming phone number. You even get an e-mail address ( that forwards to your real e-mail, if you're so inclined.

This Screencast from Molly at Screeniac is a great "in-action" overview. Om Malik also writes to say that GrandCentral now has unlimited incoming calls, even on the basic free accounts. Lastly, the downside is that GrandCentral is still in beta testing and doesn't have phone numbers in all area codes yet. They are also currently unavailable outside the United States.


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