Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Google Voice going mainstream with Gmail

Google’s getting pretty serious about Voice business and is moving aggressively in this direction. Today they unveiled a new feature for Gmail using which users can call any phone number in USA and Canada free of charge. Yes u heard it right, its free. However the free calls will last only until end of this year. This new service will put Google into direct competition with Skype, the most popular internet telephony company. In fact they have some good pricing for international calling. According to some sources, Google is using the money they make from international calling to provide free calls to USA and Canada.

The service doesn’t need you to install a new desktop client. All you need to do is install a voice and video plug-in to the browser and voila u can make and receive calls for free. Google says the new service would work well for people in a spot with poor cell phone reception or for those making a quick call from their desk.

Another interesting news to share is the Google Voice Phone booths that Google plans to install in Airports and Universities. Now this gets interesting and has not been tried by any of the other internet telephony folks. With so much cash in bank, this might not be a big deal for Google. Also this pushes the Google Voice feature to more audience and serves as a marketing tool. Apparently Google wants more user to try out the Google Voice feature and its quality. If the call is free, iam sure there will be tones of folks who would love to use this booth.

As Om points out, launching this feature with Gmail has such a huge impact for various different reasons. So it’s a sort of one place for all communication. I think this is on of the features Facebook should be thinking off to support in future. From a user standpoint, It makes so much sense to have all communication (IM, Voice, Video, SMS, Chat, Calender, Mail etc) happening in one place instead of opening multiple apps/windows/browser etc.

So looks like Skype has got a serious competitor in Google Voice. Its not only Skype that should be worried about Google Voice, even the Telco operators should take this threat from Google Voice seriously. So until it lasts, just enjoy the free calls.

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