Friday, August 08, 2008

The value of GrandCentral

GrandCentral is a VOIP service that gives users a phone routing service. Google bought 'em, and I signed up.

Problem is, I couldn't figure out what they were good for. Until today ...
Gordon's Tech: GrandDialer: will this help my phone bill?
But what if I could use my GrandCentral account to call Canada, then GrandCentral connects me in?
GrandDialer would make that easier:
GrandDialer, an iPhone app for GrandCentral - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
...GrandDialer (iTunes link) allows you to use your iPhone to call people using your GrandCentral telephone number....
This is using the GrandCentral "Click2Call" feature.
Briefly, it works. For most people this is a curiosity, but free AT&T cell calls to Montreal will pay for my iPhone.

Which explains this mysterious meeting transcript I found in my junk mail today:
... AT&T guy: "Thanks for joining us today. We really admire the work you've done at Google. We know you appreciate the fiber services we provide, and you understand why it's only fair that Google pay a bit more for the quality of service only we can provide."

Google guy's phone starts playing The Rolling Stone's "Under my Thumb".

Google guy: "Sorry about that. It's the ring tone I use for my GrandCentral calls. You understand ..."

AT&T guy: Would a 5% volume discount be ok?
AT&T is living off the big bucks they charge me for long distance calls. If they lost their long distance service they'd fall over dead.

GrandCentral could take a lot of that away -- if Google ever opened it up and created a GrandCentral widget like GrandDialer for every cell phone on the market.

In the meantime, GrandCentral is paying its way without earning a penny. They can afford to pay for my calls to Canada ...

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