Friday, March 13, 2009


Is there no end to it? Is there nothing Google won't touch? The launch of Google Voice signals the aptly named "web monster's" next move as it munches its way pacman like through anything that comes within even a whiff of the Internet.

The technology behind it is Grand Central, and when Google acquired them in 2007, it certainly gave an indication what was to come. And while eBay may have failed to work out what to do with Skype, that's because it was a service without an application. Skype is cheap voice ... and when I'm selling stuff on eBay, the last thing I want is people calling me. If I wanted to do that, I'd advertise in the local newsagent.

But Grand Central is different. It's an application. The hosted PBX model is almost limitless in the sort of applications it can let users access, giving the user complete control over almost every aspect of their experience, from ring-back tones to voicemail, from a single number that follows you across mobile, home and work phones to permissions and profiling of different caller IDs.

Ultimately, this is what it comes down to. If VoIP is just about trashing the cost of calls, then Skype is your answer ... and operators will hate it as they have no response. But if VoIP is about applications, about wrapping additional service wrappers around the basic call, then all is not lost for the operator. They have a way to fight back against Google Voice ... afterall, when it comes to voice, no-one knows that better than a telco.

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