Google and the power of CDRs

Google bought GrandCentral last week. GrandCentral is a provider of VOIP-based communications services.

I’ve been using it for about six weeks; it’s a great service. One thing that really stands out about GrandCentral is its use of call detail records, the log of all calls made and received. GrandCentral lets you use CDRs effectively to keep track of what is going on in your life.

GrandCentral call detail records

Among the features:

  • See who called and when, even if they didn’t leave a message
  • See how long you talked for
  • Add notes about a conversation
  • Playback voicemail messages
  • Playback a recording of the call, if you recorded the call
  • Block specific callers
  • Map the caller’s location

Telcos have long relegated CDRs to back-end systems for things like billing. The only time I can see my CDRs with Sprint is when I get my bill. Some carriers don’t provide CDRs at all.

VOIP services like Vonage are providing near-real time records, but typically treat them as just logs. GrandCentral is the first I’ve seen that lets you truly use your CDRs to manage your communications. (We came close at uReach.)

Imagine GrandCentral integrated into Gmail. You’d be able to search for someone and see emails, voicemails and your calls in the results.

That’s just for starters.

CDRs can be extremely powerful. It’s a cop show cliche that one of the first things they do after finding a body is dump the victim’s LUDs. Calling patterns are an effective way to identify relationships among people. That raises all sorts of interesting (and some scary) possibilities.

If you want a GrandCentral invite, shoot me an email.

More on: Google


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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