If you have more than one phone, then you should know about GrandCentral – genuinely cool technology to unify your phones in ways that are close to magical.

I have a cell phone and an office phone. I can’t drop either one – there’s no reliable cell phone service in my home office. I’ve had to ask my clients to call two numbers and leave two messages; I miss calls and check multiple voicemail systems and try to remember to turn forwarding on and off. It’s a mess. Lots of people are in that position.

At GrandCentral.com, you pick a new phone number and do a few minutes of easy setup. Then when someone calls that number, all of your phones ring simultaneously and you can answer any of them.

It’s brilliant. There are far more tricks, but that single trick is sufficient to solve my phone problems.

The service is free and phone numbers are available in almost every part of the country. There will be paid services for vanity numbers and some additional features.

Here are a few of the other things that GrandCentral does.

  • There is a single, unified voice mail box. Messages are automatically preserved forever. I get an e-mail when a message arrives, with a link to play the message thru my computer speakers if I prefer.
  • When a call comes in, a single button push either answers the call or sends it to voice mail. Or I can listen to the voice mail being recorded and pick up the call. Or I can pick up the call and record it. That last option may or may not survive to the official rollout – there are some legal issues about recording calls that have raised eyebrows.
  • At any time during a call, a single button push will ring my other phone and allow me to transfer the call – the person on the other end doesn’t even know it happens. I can switch from the office landline to the cell phone and run out the door without missing a beat.

There’s more, all presented in a well-organized web site. This is exciting stuff. Here’s a New York Times article that presents a nice overview of the GrandCentral service.

Make a note in your address book:

  • The best number to use for bruceb consulting is (707) 703-1601. A single number will ring the phone closest to me; a single message will reach me reliably.
  • My other numbers still work. No harm if you call my office number or cell phone directly.
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