The virtual phone service GrandCentral has been invite-only beta for several months. But now the blog service Blogger (also owned by Google) is offering users free memberships. But hey, the special sign-up link works for everyone! 🙂 Not really a loophole, since Blogger accounts are also free, but it does mean that it is now effectively open to everyone to wants to try it out.
To quickly summarize, GrandCentral offers you a free local US phone number from 47 states which can forward to any other US number. You also get free voicemail along with several other nifty features. I tried to explore the many possible uses of GrandCentral in this post. Here are a few of them:
- Have one permanent, central number for everything.
- Create an extra number for your side business, for any other reason you might think of.
- Avoid long distance charges, by getting a new number in a new area code.
- Combine with T-Mobile MyFaves or AllTel Circle for more free calling.
- Use it to allow people to call you via your website, without revealing your phone number.
Again, details are here. I’ve still been using GrandCentral as a separate business line. Although it doesn’t get used heavily, it does give me the ability to pre-screen calls to my business, or simply forward to a professional voicemail recording.