Published : 13/03/2009 by Caroline Grabriel
Image via CrunchBase
We've seen how strongly operators like Orange reacted to Nokia's plans to bundle Skype with some smartphones, so we can only imagine their panic (and Skype owner eBay's) at yesterday's launch of Google's internet voice services, Google Voice.
This may be PC-oriented at first, but there are clear plans to integrate it with Android and push the search giant into the mobile voice market.
The new offering is based on the GrandCentral software that Google acquired in 2007. It will add voice calling to the presence, location, instant messaging and chat options integrated into Gmail and other Google apps, which in turn are tightly integrated with Android platforms like T-Mobile G1.
Google Voice is an add-on application, though not full VoIP at this stage - instead it is a web enabled telephony feature rather like Jajah, which works at the upper levels of the control plane rather than the media plane, like Skype. It provides users with a single phone number that they can use to consolidate all their other numbers including mobile. Calls are forwarded based on rules the user establishes, and there are free internet-based calls. This entails some changes in user behavior compared to conventional phone services or even many VoIP offerings, but it provides integration with other communications and free calls within the US (there will be charges, not detailed as yet, for international usage).