Google (GOOG) Gets Into The Phone Business

According to TechCrunch, Google (GOOG) is buying GrandCentral, a company that allows a user to have “one phone number for all your phones, for life.”. The price tag may be as high as $50 million.

The technology news site speculates that the GrandCentral product could be integrated with GMail and GTalk. but the big search company may have much higher aspirations.

A number of industry observers believe that the next battle for search engine share will be the wireless handset. While Google has a dominant market share among consumers using computers for search, that is not yet true in the wireless market where Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo! (YHOO) have some chance to be on a more equal footing with Google.

But, having a product that allows customers to take their phone number with them anywhere could give Google an important advantage on wireless platforms. Business and home phone numbers could be migrated to portable devices as part of a suite of services Google could offer on handsets. It is a feature that could, along with its search product, give the company an important edge.

But, no one said the people at Google were slow.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.