When I was writing the FierceVoIP newsletter, I met the founders of GrandCentral. I’d been looking for a service like this for decades: a single phone number that could find me anywhere. That founders Vincent Paquet and Craig Walker are genuinely nice guys with a social conscience was icing on the cake.
Rumors had been flying for about a week, but the companies announced today that Google bought GrandCentral. Congrats to Craig and Vincent; it’s nice to see good work pay off.
But why did Google want GrandCentral, anyway?
Google’s stated goal is to organize the world’s information. Its ability to do that with textual information worries me not at all, and its ability to do that with mapping and video doesn’t really bother me, either. I’m a little bugged that I’ve given Google permission to follow me around the Web, but I can rationalize that by telling myself that it will help Google help me search.
But GrandCentral, used to its fullest, can associate me with phone numbers I call, phone numbers (and — when they’re in the GC phone book — people and addresses) who call me. GrandCentral stores voicemails; doesn’t Google do voice-to-text transcription, too? And when I pick up an incoming GrandCentral call, Google can then tell where I am at that very moment.
Total Information Awareness, indeed.
Consider that when a company or governmental entity (or, for that matter, a matrimonial lawyer) wants dirt on someone, the first thing they try to do is pull phone records. Phone records are incredibly revealing.
GrandCentral is a great service that can revolutionize the way you use your phone. But Google’s owning it just kind of creeps me out. Maybe some things are better left unorganized.