GrandCentral is one of those services that needed a big partner organization to take off. Well, they are now a part of Google; hopefully they don’t fall into the same void that JotSpot has disappeared into.
GrandCentral is a voice routing application that many have been trying to perfect for a long time. The idea is that you, the user, are issued a single phone number for life, and all of your calls are routed through this ‘GrandCentral’ line. GrandCentral then sifts through those inbound calls, and routes them to the appropriate location, be it your cell phone, a customized voicemail area, or simply blocks out unwanted calls. The service does a bunch more things, and could possibly serve as a base of a PBX style system for small businesses. I received a beta account access when the service first appeared, but didn’t get around to playing with it that much. I found Jott to be a more useful service for me, although I certainly could see the value in GrandCentral.
Like JotSpot, Google has closed off beta access to existing customers. It is generally believed that Google plans to integrate GrandCentral into GoogleTalk, the chat client that now resides in Gmail. If done properly, Google could come closer to the unified inbox holy grail than anyone else has. If course, Om Malik notes that this could be a troubling thing.