Monday, August 20, 2007

Is Google Becoming Evil?

This one surprised me:

"So much for Grand Central’s “one number for life” promise. The company is turning off customer phone numbers and giving them new ones following their acquisition by Google last month...[a user received a notice] advising him that in 8 days his Grand Central number would be canceled and that he would be required to immediately start using a new number allocated to him."

Even worse is the Grand Central posting on their OWN blog on July 12, saying:

"One of the foundations of GrandCentral is the “one number for life” concept. When creating the company we thought about all the pain points of having a new phone number or a number that switches every time your life changes. Go to college? Get a new number. Buy a house? Get a new number. Change jobs? Get a new number. Not only is this a pain for you as you need to now memorize another number for yourself, but its even worse for your friends and family who have to keep up updating their address books to keep track of you. With GrandCentral as your only number, these problems go away."

This follows on the heels of Google removing access to DRM'd videos that one purchased through Google Video. Granted they gave credits to their Google Checkout service, but is that really acceptable given that you purchased the rights to view a video indefinitely?

Is it really impossible to make profits AND be good?


Jake of All Trades said...

Interesting. I have a GrandCentral account from shortly after their launch (and way before the Google acquisition), but no number change notice for me as of yet.

Jake of All Trades said...

Looks like this one isn't Google's fault.

I saw this explanation on the official Grand Central blog, and from a related situation with the same anonymous provider I can confirm that this is legit and 100% out of Google's control.

It does raise an interesting point about marketing messaging and how careful you have to be with your wording, as it seems that the underlying infrastructure made "one number for life" a claim they didn't necessarily have the ability to back up since they rely on a third party for the actual numbers.

BoRyan said...

And it appears that after Google read my blog posting, they decided to issue CASH refunds to Google video purchasers, instead of Google Checkout credits. And they're extending the watching period for another 6 months.

My concern is appeased for now.