Google Talk

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Google Talk

There are reports of a new soon to be released Google Talk program and it isn’t what you think as it is primarily and IM program. But as many have surmised, how long will it be before the company comes out with a VoIP package? In my opinion, it won’t take long for the search engine leader to add VoIP into their mix.

With Google’ role as indexer of the world’s information already spelled out how much time will it take for them to offer free calling with the added convenience of seeing targeted ads regarding what you are speaking about. You get the point. You call Dominos and a Pizza Hut ad flashes.

You call your spouse to tell you are working late once again and an ad pops from private investigators in your area willing to confirm you’re spouse is “actually” working. Oh it gets better still. You call Land’s End to make a purchase and you get an ad from Mention insurance and see an ad from Geico telling you that you could save 20% or more on auto insurance.

Can such a concept fly? Does it have legs? Well this is exactly what happens with Gmail so what is the problem? Of course if there is a problem it may be that phone calls are considered more intimate than e-mails. Are they really? Perhaps in some cases. But the line between phone calls and e-mail is blurring.

Privacy advocates may be up in arms but in the end if people want free phone calls in an interface that ties into their chat, e-mail and Google search they will use the service.

When you think of the world’s information, you don’t usually think of all the world’s phone calls but with a good amount of speech recognition equipment it seems like this is idea is easy to implement.

The question becomes that if Google comes out with such a service that introduces free calling to people that aren’t using Skype (and even those who are), when will our industry ever get to the point of selling people real enhanced services?

Will Google’s widely rumored foray into VoIP benefit the VoIP industry? For that matter does Skype benefit the VoIP community at all?

I have trouble answering these questions as tremendous VoIP awareness can be attributed to Skype and potentially Google. And of course this article would not be complete if Vonage wasn’t mentioned as a tremendous driver of VoIP awareness.

If we can get the entire world using VoIP perhaps there will then be room for services like distinctive ring and others that people will pay for. The question is will Google counter every paid service with a free incremental improvements to Gphone or whatever they call their potential VoIP service?

One thing is for sure. If you are a VoIP service provider, you have more opportunity now than ever before. You also have more potential competition than ever before. These are some of the issues we will be discussing at TMC’s upcoming Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, California. I am looking forward to networking with service provider leaders at the show and hearing their opinions and helping to contribute to the vibrant VoIP service provider community.

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