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GrandCentral rolls out handy widgets, voicemail sharing

Business or pleasure? With new widgets, GrandCentral wants to let you do both on your cell phone and on sites like eBay.

GrandCentral, the cell phone enhancement service we covered last year, is adding really handy customizable instant call widgets to their service next week. The new widgets work a little bit like Jaxtr's widget we checked out in December. You can create customized voicemail widgets with personalized greetings for your callers. There are three different styles of widgets to choose from, and they can be placed on social networking profiles, blogs, or Web sites.

GrandCentral is also adding a way to share your voicemail with other people by letting you embed it like you would with their call widgets. There's arguably an issue of privacy here, but on more than one occasion I've received a voicemail that I've wanted to forward to friends and family without having to deal with the cumbersome voice interface from my mobile provider.

During the demo last night at O'Reilly's ETel Launchpad event, GrandCentral's CEO Craig Walker showed the use of the new widgets in an eBay auction, which actually looked like a neat way for potential buyers to ask you questions without having to disclose your personal number. Whether answering buyer's queries over the phone compared to e-mail is a good use of your time is questionable, but the interface is very slick.

GrandCentral still hasn't sorted out some of our original qualms by employing a mobile interface or a plug-in for calendar apps like Outlook and iCal to help manage call rules. Regardless, it's a compelling service for people looking to manage their phones for personal and business use.