Google June 22 made its Google Voice application available to anyone who wants to use it, putting the search engine in position to tack more users on to its total of 1.4 million-plus. The next level of efficiency might be to integrate Google Voice with specific Google Apps beyond just Gmail. For example, Google could integrate Google Voice with Google Talk to place audio calls, though it is unclear how Gizmo5 would fit in here. Google could also integrate Google Voice with Google Calendar.
Google June 22 made its Google Voice application available to anyone who
wants to use it, capping one year of gradual rollouts that began with select invitees
, then to military personnel
is a Web calling and phone management application.
The program, which is used by more than 1.4 million people
in the world, gives users one number to ring
their home, work and mobile phones.
The apps also lets users make free calls and text messages in the United
States and Canada, and make low-cost international calls, among other
Calls and messages can be accessed and managed through a phone or a Web
browser, allowing users to listen to messages, forward messages, add a caller
to an address book or block a caller as spam, and transcribe voicemail
To this point, users had to request and receive an invite to try Google
Voice. Google wanted to be sure it put the infrastructure in place to handle a
rollout to the general public, Google Voice Product Manager Vincent Paquet told
Moreover, Paquet and his team wanted to add a number of capabilities along
These included an HTML5-based mobile Web app
(created after Apple rejected
the original Google Voice for iPhone app), the
ability to use Google Voice with an existing number, an integrated voicemail
player to play messages in Gmail, and smaller perks such as SMS to e-mail and
the Google Voice extensions for Google's Chrome Web browser.
While Google Voice has come a long way, Paquet said he and his team are
working hard to shore up the app's future. Google acquired
Gizmo5, which makes a Web-based VOIP (voice over IP) client
that lets users make phone calls over the Internet.
Paquet declined to say how the Gizmo5 assets are being leveraged. Gizmo5
would give Google Voice the capability to enable one computer to call another,
or the computer to call any phone, similar to Skype. Google Voice used Gizmo5
to connect endpoints before acquiring the company.
"We designed Google Voice to be endpoint-agnostic and we certainly want
it to be accessible from any type of endpoint, not just phones," Paquet
said. "The direction in which we are going to keep working is to use the
Web, which is probably the best UI there is in the world, to give you more
control and personalization over your communications."