Monday, January 24, 2005

Is VOIP the next big thing from Google?

I don't know if they will call it "Voogle" or what, but there are various speculative reports that Google is looking to start a VOIP service. According to comments by InfoWorld and The Times in London, Google recently posted job openings for people with "dark fiber" experience. The speculation is that Google has purchased or will purchase unused fiber optic cable and then light it up with a VOIP application.

"This would be an obvious development for the world's leading search engine. Millions have downloaded the 'Google toolbar,' so why not a VoIP client too?" said Julian Hewett, chief analyst with Ovum Ltd., in a note distributed to reporters on Monday. The appeal for Google is obvious: search for something, then 'click here' if you'd like to speak to the company that's selling what you're looking for," Hewett continued. "Google then collects a fee from the 'sponsor' for each voice connection. Voice calls with very little cost AND funded by advertising. What a sweet extension to Google's advertising-driven business model!" he wrote."

The best indicator if these reports are true is if we quickly see some new business developments from Skype, Vonage or one of the other VOIP providers. If one or more of these providers negotiates a "pre-emptive" strike against a Google VOIP service, there's a fair chance we'll see a VOIP icon in the Google Desktop toolbar....stay tuned.

Click the post title for the full InfoWorld story.

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