GrandCentral Outage Is Unacceptable

grand_central_2Yesterday morning there was a blackout across America. It didn’t impact our power or water, but it did take free phone number service provider GrandCentral off line.Occasional outages are acceptable (barely), but an Internet phone service simply can’t go down. What makes the downtime even more infuriating is that users were kept in the dark. Even GrandCentral’s blog temporarily disappeared.

I understand the service is free. And when something’s free, you really can’t gripe, right? However, the Google-owned phone company has $50 million behind it, meaning there must be a better system to prevent blackouts and notify users that the system is down.

Eventually, co-founder Craig Walker updated the company’s blog, telling the world he was unavailable because he was up in the mountains. That excuse is cool when a buddy doesn’t call you back, but now for a grownup company that wants to be taken seriously.

The problem might be very telling about a silo effect within Google. Given all of their communication vehicles, how could they not have found a way to get the message out?

Grand Central numbers are often recommended to be used to protect the privacy of your ‘regular’ phone number. That means folks are more apt to use the # when meeting someone new, dealing with a salesperson or looking for a method to pre-screen their calls.

I wonder how many people lost out on true love or had an important business transaction fall apart? Remember, the person dialing the number has no indication that the number is not a true land or cell line.

Missing a call is not an option, even if the service is free. I will second-guess how I use GC from here on out. In the meantime, here are some alternatives:

Vonage
Just Voip
PhoneFusion One
Skype