By Harry McCracken | Monday, January 26, 2009 at 10:25 am
Like me, WebWorkerDaily’s Judi Sohn uses Google’s GrandCentral phone service, which sports an array of fancy tricks like auto-forwarding to multiple numbers at once. When Judi logged in this morning, she found her browser telling her that GrandCentral’s SSL security certificate had expired. She uses that as a springboard to fret about the future of GrandCentral in general: It’s been in closed-beta limbo for eons, and Google shows no signs of readying it for general release. She ends with the ultimate vote of no confidence: a request that Google shut down GrandCentral and help people transfer their phone numbers elsewhere.
I didn’t have the certificate problem myself, but I’ve wondered what the heck is going on with GrandCentral in these quarters before. Confession: Despite the fact that GrandCentral is beta, I use a GrandCentral number as Technologizer’s main business phone number. For the most part, I’m happy with it. But Judi’s skepticism that GrandCentral will ever emerge from beta has me paranoid that it may go away, and that I’ll be sorry I handed out all those business cards with a GrandCentral number on them.
If nothing else, I should probably be worried about the fact that GrandCentral’s home page no longer trumpets the slogan “One Number…for Life” (here’s what the tagline looked like back when it was there, plus some additional promises about the service’s permanence):
I guess “One Number…Until Google Decides to Direct Its Attention Elsewhere and Quietly Shutters the Service” doesn’t have the same ring to it…
To be clear, Google hasn’t said that GrandCentral is at risk. Actually, it hasn’t said much of anything about the service since it acquired it. It’s conceivable that it’ll add new features and/or take it out of beta any day now. And I’ll choose to take it as a good sign that it wasn’t among the services that Google did kill or scale back a couple of weeks ago.
For now, I’m still using and liking GrandCentral, and I’m certainly not willing to join Judi Sohn’s call for Google to euthanize it. An encouraging word or two from Google would be nice, though–especially if the gist was “we’re investing in GrandCentral and intend to roll it out to all comers as soon as we think it’s ready.”