TechCrunch reports that Google is in acquisition discussions with GrandCentral. You may recall that GrandCentral is the company that provides one number with find me/follow me capabilities. I switched my business number to it several months ago and I have seldom missed a call as a result of it. I have been tempted to start using it for my personal number as well because of its rule-based engine.
In my last blog article about them, I suggested that GrandCentral integrate with Skype. A combined product would detect presence, execute a rule, and ring the appropriate phone(s) and/or computer. Contacts are easily integrated from Outlook without time consuming importing. You can even decide whether you will let someone chat instead of calling. Apparently Google saw the value in GrandCentral to add value to Google Talk.
GTalk suffers from the me too syndrome. There is no compelling reason to use them other than integration with Gmail. GrandCentral could give GTalk the value to cause users to switch. Google can add features to detect presence or availablity from Gcal before deciding which phone to ring or send the caller to voice mail. Voice mail could be played on any phone or in Gmail. Users could even optionally publish their number with Goog411.
Purchasing GrandCentral is a great move on Google's part, but bad news for Skype users. Is there a chance of EBay coming to the rescue?