A sudden departure from Grand Central

I was online tonight doing some bill paying when the following message popped up in my Twitter client:

I was one of the early GrandCentralbeta testers, so I logged into my long-dormant GrandCentral account just to make sure there wasn't anything in there that I needed to save. As it happened, there were a few old voicemails that I hadn't saved locally, so I downloaded them.

Well, most of them. For reasons unclear, there were a couple that would not play or download. Fortunately, there was nothing Earth-shattering in them as far as I know, mostly just routine messages between me and my wife, but it was somewhat unsettling that _anything_ was missing. After all, this was the predecessor to Google Voice, the service that promised to simplify your life by storing your voicemails in the cloud. Missing voicemails shouldn't happen.

Then I started to think about it, and I got angry. Not because a couple of voicemails were missing, but because there was no indication anywhere else on the web that Google was about to shut down the service. If I hadn't been a Twitter user, would I have even known about it? There was no email in my inbox, no post on the Google Voice blog, no word anywhere at all that GrandCentral was about to get killed off for good.

It wouldn't be so bad if Google was going to port over all its subscribers' old call records and voicemails to Google Voice, but that doesn't seem to be the plan. When I check my GV call history, the earliest voicemail is the one welcoming me to Google Voice:

Unless I miss my guess, there are going to be more than a few unhappy former GrandCentral users over the next few weeks when they find out that their archived voicemails are no longer available. After all, Google told us that we could continue to access our old GrandCentral accounts once we had moved over to Google Voice.

I know this all sounds rather arcane, and it is, to be sure, a First World problem. I am _very_ happy with Google Voice, and constantly preach its virtues. But I think that Google could have done better with this one, and it's disappointing to see them mishandle the situation like this. Come on, Google. Even though it's a free service, your customers and clients deserve a little bit of a warning, and a chance to save their data. Follow your motto. Don't be evil.