Most of us will have seen the recent wranglings with the former owners of Skype taking legal action about the ownership underlying technology used by Skype and how Skype were in talks to acquire VoIP startup Gizmo5 to replace the underlying codebase that they were being sued over? Well it seems that not only did Skype and its founders come to an agreement and save the underlying codebase, but Gizmo5 got acquired after all and not by Skype but by Google.
Talk about moving fast – Google pounced on the the peer to peer VoIP provider Gizmo5 just as its chances of being acquired by Skype had been dashed. Gizmo5 is an unscaled, but proven peer to peer VoIP provider. It has six million users for its SIP based P2P VoIP service. The service would add the a PSTN link to allow incoming or outbound calls to real phones which Google Voice currently lacks. According to various sources, Google has bought Gizmo5 for $30 million, but the official announcement has yet to be made.
It is going to be interesting to see how Google is going to integrate this technology into it’s portfolio of applications for sure it will form part of the Google Voice
Google has announced it has begun accepting new users for Google Voice, but this is not the full public launch. After a lot of speculation about when the service would actually go live, Google began sending emails to users who had registered interest back in March.
Google did not say how many invitations would be sent at this limited release for the service or when a general launch will begin.
Google will be using the transcribed voicemails for contextual advertising this has led to complaints from consumer groups that this may be an invasion of privacy, however it is obvious that like Gmail many users are prepared to accept targeted advertising for a free service. It seems that correctly targeted advertising sits OK with most users as opposed to being bombarded with glossy flashing general adverts.
See the announcement on the Officail Google Blog Here.
We see that Google has now rebranded the GrandCentral service as Google Voice. So what exactly are Google offering in the voice market ?
Google Voice will help you manage your phone numbers. You just sign up for the service and pick an area code. The phone number you get will then act as your one number, forwarding the calls it receives to your home, mobile or work number etc.
Google have made it easy to set up rules for call routing, and the service comes with handy extras like call recording and emailed or SMS voice mail transcripts. The beauty of the service is that you in effect get a single lifetime number, your personal numbers behind the service can change.
We like the way Google look at things from a different angle – they have taken a voicemail service and used Speech to Text to convert the voice into a form that will then sit well with their underlying search engine technology.
We have registered interest to try the service when it becomes more readily available outside of the US.