Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bringing Order to Chaos

Grand offers to provide you one telephone number, that will suffice for the rest of your life. If someone dials you at that number, all your phones ring simultaneously (if you so choose) - and you can choose where to answer the call. Numbers are available in many area codes nationwide - but not all.

The New York Times reports:

A new service called GrandCentral, now in its final weeks of public beta testing, solves all of these problems. It’s a rather brilliant melding of cellphone and the Internet.

Its motto, “One number for life,” pretty much says it all. At, you choose a new, single, unified phone number (more on this in a moment). You hand it out to everyone you know, instructing them to delete all your old numbers from their Rolodexes.

From now on, whenever somebody dials your new uninumber, all of your phones ring simultaneously, like something out of “The Lawnmower Man.”

No longer will anyone have to track you down by dialing each of your numbers in turn. No longer does it matter if you’re home, at work or on the road. Your new GrandCentral phone number will find you.

As a bonus, all messages now land in a single voice mail box. You can listen to them in any of three ways. First, you can dial in from any phone (a text message arrives on your cellphone to let you know when you have voice mail). If you call in from your cellphone, you don’t even have to enter your password first.

You can also play your messages on the Web, at, and download them as audio files to preserve for posterity. You can even ask to be notified by e-mail; a link in the e-mail message takes you online to play the voice mail.

This has got to be the wave of the future, and it's kind of neat to see it arrive.

The CEO explains GrandCentral here:

Based on this description, it looks like you'll be able to do a lot more to customize your phones. You can label some numbers as spam, choose which callers can reach you at which numbers, listen in on voicemail, record parts of a call, and more.

It seems pretty cool to me, but my daughter will take it for granted...

Hat Tip: Tom Maguire

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