Google Voice Now a Viable Skype Rival with Gizmo5 Buy
Google Nov. 12 confirmed that it had acquired Gizmo5 for an undisclosed sum. Gizmo5 makes Web-based calling software for mobile phones and computers. Specifically, it provides a Web-based VOIP client that lets users make phone calls over the Internet, similar to programs such as Skype. Some speculate Gizmo5 will evolve into a new version of the Google Talk voice and video chat application, supporting Google Voice and its many voicemail management features, including automatic voicemail transcription. Many industry watchers agree this deal puts Google Voice and Skype, which Google reportedly tried to acquire earlier this year, on a collision course.Google Nov. 12 confirmed that it had acquired Gizmo5 for an undisclosed sum, giving the search engine technology that could help Google contend with PC-to-PC calling giant Skype. Gizmo5 makes Web-based calling software for mobile phones and computers. Specifically, it provides a Web-based VoIP client that lets users make phone calls over the Internet, similar to programs like Skype.
However, while Skype's software is a proprietary technology, Gizmo5 is based on the open SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) standard, though it leverages proprietary codecs.
"Expect a similar suite of calling plans and services to roll out from Google Voice, making the traditional telcos quite grumpy. Arguably Google has the capacity to popularize VoIP calling across networks in ways that even Skype cannot. Previously the Google Voice service required an underlying account and telephone number from a traditional telco. Now it doesn't need one. When Google Voice originally launched, we asked whether Google Voice was going to become a "Next-Generation Telco?" The answer now is definitively 'yes.'"Still, Google has a long, long way to go to catch Skype, which has 500 million users and is as much a sweetheart application for users as Google's Gmail, Windows Live Messenger, AIM and other applications. Trying to dethrone that giant, which just got clear of some nasty litigation, will be an incredible challenge.