Grand Central: I am not a number – I am a tag

In our book Mobile Web 2.0, we put forward many ideas, not all of which may stand the test of time. However, two have clearly started to be mainstream

The first is the power of Mobile Ajax ; and that is becoming a reality through the uptake of the Mobile Web and other factors such as the release of the iPhone

The second was a very disruptive concept called I am not a number – I am a tag – posted originally by Tony Fish.

The idea of I am not a number – I am a tag sounded far fetched even a year ago .. Suddenly with the acquisition of Grand Central by Google , it is not.

The fulfillment of the ‘I am not a number – I am a tag’ vision requires two things to happen

a) A Web based ‘tag’ which maps to all your ‘phone numbers’ and

b) A validation of that tag

(a) is Grand Central

As per zdnet


Google has acquired GrandCentral Communications, a start-up that lets users manage their existing phones and voice mailboxes over the web as if they were a single account, the company said on Monday.

“You get a single phone number that forwards to all of your phones, giving you one number for life,” Walker and Paquet said in a statement on GrandCentral’s website confirming the deal.


Grand Central has some really cool features ..

As per techworld


GrandCentral’s users can combine all their phone numbers and voice-mail boxes under one phone number so they can manage various phone features online. Users can set up their accounts so that the number can ring on one or multiple phones, based on who is calling. Customers can hear voice-mail online or from a phone, and forward voice-mails to others or post them to a blog.

Users can log into their online address book and then click on an entry to make a call. Once the user clicks on the number, GrandCentral calls the user’s designated phone and then connects it to the number from the address book.


(b) , The second problem(identifying a ‘trusted’ tag based on information from other tags), was addressed by Dick Hardt in his famous presentation at Web 2.0 2005.

Dick’s company sxip presented a mechanism called sxore which has now sadly been discontinued but you can see more about it HERE

But others are addressing this problem.

The problem of a generic system of trusted tags has been addressed by researchers like Levin (and is also related to my own PhD at UCL

In any case, this area is starting to get a lot of interest

If you are interested, you can see one such implementation of a Trust metric (Levin) in the following three links(Gets very mathematical but the even if you ignore the mathematical part, the overview is good)