Google Takes on Phones, Part IV – Google Voice is IN THE COMPUTER?
Earlier this month I spent a bit of time profiling Google’s plays in the voice space. It was a three part post:
- The Apple and the Android – The potential impact to manufactures of the release of an “open” phone operating system (Android).
- The Carriers and the Google Phone – The potential impact to the carriers of an “open” Google branded Phone.
- The “Ma Bell” of the Next Generation of Communication – The way Google Voice could bring your communication identity together in to a single ID.
I have a bit of an update to the third post. Two pertinent things are poised to happen that will further increase Google’s creep towards a single communication platform / identity.
- Google purchased a company called Gizmo5. Gizmo5 is, basically, an equivalent of Skype. If you don’t know what Skype is, it’s like AIM or MSN Messenger or Sametime or Yahoo Messenger or Google Talk except that you can call someone instead of just typing with them. In addition to calling a fellow Gizmo5 customer, you can call a telephone number and speak from your computer (assuming it has a microphone) to another person who is on a telephone. The part that makes Google owning Gizmo5 interesting, is that Gizmo5’s technology could (and almost certainly will) be integrated in to Google Voice. So if you dial my Google Voice phone number, it would not only ring on all of my phones (as explained here), but it would ring on all the computers I was logged in to as well. Or if you called me using Google Talk, it could ring my phones in addition to ringing my computer. This is very close to making my phone number and my Google ID synonymous.
- Google added an “extension” to the Chrome browser for Google Voice. Now if I am surfing the web and there’s a phone number on the page, it becomes a hyperlink (I took a screenshot of it working above). By simply clicking the link, I can call the phone number. Once this is integrated with Gizmo5, I won’t even need an actual phone to do it.
These are powerful and exciting times for integrated communication and I believe Google’s voice play is the best example of it. Based on the response from the first few posts in this series, my readers agree. With that in mind, I will try to keep you up to date as I notice significant progress being made.