While Google continues to deny entering the VoIP space, the buzz around the Net about the possibility of Google getting into the VoIP space reached a furvor pitch. With Google's repeated denials, the speculative fire began to die down towards the end of the day. Well, it's time for me to stoke those fires again! A visitor to my blog posted an interesting comment that raises some interesting possibilities about Google and VoIP.
He/she wrote (email was gender neutral):
Interestingly, Google in Germany already offers the opportunity to enter phone numbers into its search box. The featured search result is the lowest rate for a call to this number on a call-by-call basis.
At the moment, this seems to be just another advertising cooperation (with billiger-telefonieren.de), but the data entered into this search box gives Google interesting insights into call behaviour and peak times.
Might help them in matching their user's preferences with a potential VOIP offering.
Google Germany Find Phone (VoIP?) Provider
So I used an online translator and translated it from German to English. What I read in the translation is very, very, VERY interesting... Here's the translation of the Google Germany call-by-call feature (note that it's a computer translation, so it may be a bit inaccurate):
Would you want to the most favorable tariff within Germany or abroad telephone? With Google, you find the up-to-date most low-priced Call-by-Call-areas codes - equal whether you telephone into a cable network or into a mobile network.
Input into the Google that which is sought field simply the phone number, that you would want dialings, and Google finds the Call-by-Call-areas codes that are to the current time most favorable. In the following example, you find the corresponding Call-by-Call-areas codes for a call to Munich and/or to Vancouver/Canada.
This function is available momentarily only on Google.
WOW! Google performing LCR (least cost routing) based on area code, time of day, etc. and then passing along the phone number to a phone service provider? I'm sure Google gets a cut of that somewhere. I've espoused the benefits of LCR many times. For example, in my Skype Phone blog entry, I wrote, "What I would like to see is an ATA that supports BOTH Skype and a broadband VoIP service provider, such as Vonage, AT&T CallVantage, Lingo, etc. Then using some LCR (least cost routing) algorithm you can optimize your outbound calls for the least expensive termination provider depending on where you are dialing. In addition to that, you can make/receive PSTN phone calls via a broadband VoIP service provider as well as make/receive Skype calls. Now that would be really cool!"
I also wrote about it recently in my Verisign and SS7 blog entry where I said, "using VerSign's SS7/SIP service, VoIP service providers can perform some LCR (Least Cost Routing) across two different voice transports - IP and the PSTN. So now if two companies have PSTN peering agreements with a low per-minute cost, they can route the call over the PSTN (hand it off using SS7) rather than over IP."
One last quote of mine from a product review I did that I should share (just to put this all in perspective): My "room for improvement" for the Cisco ATA-186 is that it should allow multiple ITSPs to be configured per unit instead of allowing just one. Then using some sort of Least Cost Routing algorithm, it should be able to figure out which ITSP is the least expensive when making an outbound call. Since rates change very often, perhaps it could access the latest rates via the Internet using XML.
Basically, I've discussed and envisioned much more advanced LCR algorithms that work across multiple transport mediums - whether PSTN, IP, etc. and across multiple service providers (Vonage, CallVantage, etc.) which would further drive the per/minute rates down. Can Google, the master geniuses of web-based search algorithms design a telephony-based least cost routing algorithm that leverages VoIP?
The fire has been stoked.. Let the fire commence...
Related entries to this blog: