Posts Tagged ‘Google Voice’
Apparently, someone or someones is interested in pumping Vonage stock this week. Or it may be some people are drinking the Kool-Aid because the stock has gone from under 50 cents a share to over $2 bucks in a weeks time. That whole 300 percent lift gets stock gurus all hot and sweaty…
Frost & Sullivan has some bizarre theory that Vonage is getting a lift from all the talk around Google Voice stimulating more interest in VoIP and therefore more interest in acquiring the company blah-blah…
I could see where an acquirer might be interested in Vonage since the company has cleaned up its act and tightened its belt. Best Buy would be an interesting purchaser since they could clean house of Vonage’s expensive marketing department and integrate Vonage marketing into its promotional juggernaut. Best Buy would get another service business – monthly recurring revenue good to smooth out peaks and valleys of consumer biz. But, Best Buy would end up with a “competitor” to ooma and phone service offerings, so that makes the idea a bit more blue sky.
Still, just because Vonage has submitted an iPhone app for sale in the iStore doesn’t mean everyone should get all excited. Apple is still trying to work out its story regarding Google Voice and we all know how that’s going…
Can we just cut to the chase and allow VoIP apps on the iPhone already, regardless of who does them and what network they use?
AT&T has apparently ‘ fessed up that, why yes, the iPhone deal does block VoIP apps from using its cellular network, but VoIP over Wi-Fi is somehow OK.
And Apple is still “reviewing” the Google Voice app because it mucks with its look-and-feel, changing the “experience.” Doesn’t this smack of buying an IBM PC and being told you have to use IBM’s software — rather than someone else’s? Don’t we have case law floating around on this particular point already? C’mon public policy lawyers, get your textbooks out and challenge this already!
After all the years of bitching and whining about “Think Different” and “1984,” Apple has demonstrated it is just as petty and can pull the same sort of crap as any other company intent on holding onto market share by Any Means Necessary. Being a snob is one thing, being a bully is another.
It has a good collusion buddy in AT&T, who doesn’t seem to think that its own actions won’t move the FCC to do something real soon. Maybe AT&T is right, but it should start worrying about the Next Big Thing rather than trying to pretend we’re in pre-monopoly land all over again.
Apple decides to pull the plug off of Google Voice-related apps, supposedly at the request (or a wink and a nod) from AT&T, because the App allows free text messaging and two cent per minute international calls. The Federal Communications Commission decides this Isn’t Right and has launched an investigation of sorts.
So the latest showdown on Net Neutrality begins, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for AT&T. Some members of Congress are already up in arms over the absurd profitability on text messaging along with the grumbling about extensive exclusivity on the iPhone. Verizon, being no dummy, decides to sit up straight and open up its “exclusive” arrangements to smaller carriers within six months and announces it will have a crack at the Palm Pre shortly, thereby further highlighting the oh-so-monopolistic-esque practices of AT&T.
Apple? It could care less. Apple does what Apple does and the rest of the world takes it or leaves it.
Google Voice is rolling out a web site for access to GV services, so now the whole app thing is about ready reach a new level of absurdity. Would AT&T go so far as to block access to the Google Voice website? Well, if it did, the torches and pitchforks would be out in full force from all sides, so I don’t think it’s going to happen. If it did, AT&T would have another public relations fiasco on its hands and Verizon would probably do another posturing stunt to show A) How nice it really is and B) Why the government really doesn’t need to regulate the free market…
So where’s Skype? One would have thought that Skype would have been at the top of the highest soapbox bellowing out the virtues of Net Neutrality, but the company has been strangely quiet as the Apple/AT&T-Google Voice cat fight has evolved. Perhaps this is because for all of Skype’s public rhetoric about Net Neutrality, the company has preferred appeasement to confrontation with a neutered version of Skype for the AT&T iPhone.
Or perhaps with Google Voice getting most of the spotlight and potentially stealing away long-distance minutes from Skype, Net Neutrality is a good idea for Skype so long as it doesn’t promote competitive alternatives…
Over at his blog, Andy Abramson is reporting that Gizmo5 is testing a way for its users to make free U.S. outbound calls using Google Voice from any SIP device.
GizmoVoice is the latest mashup service that Gizmo5 has pulled together, leveraging its pieces with other people’s pieces/services for relatively no/low cost. Users of GizmoVoice should be able to have “ANY” SIP device, be it a WiFi phone, ATA, SIP client, or even a PBX node, to make and receive (well, the make part is the key) U.S. calls without a monthly or per minute free.
But as that curmudgeon Jerry Pournelle said oh-so-long-ago, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL), someone is making a buck off this somewhere; it’s just not clear where at this point. I suspect this is part of Mad Michael Robinson’s latest scheme to work the system to generate more minutes and more users.
Andy goes through all the permutations on how you can use Gizmo to receive Skype calls and pipe calls into GoogleVoice to get free voice mail, voicemail to email and free translation, plus a quick trick to make a call through an Apple iPhone to be IDed as a GoogleVoice number.
Skype can’t be that happy with these tricks. I really wish Skype would just suck it up and support SIP directly/natively out of its client, but if they did, it would break its walled garden concept too much and goodness knows where THAT would leave them.
As I noted last week, Google Voice is going to make life difficult for Skype — not traditional carriers. Business Week seems to be in line with my general thinking in a piece out this morning — but gets confused on the details.
Where the Business Week “gets it”–
1) Google’s ubiqulity and many many linked-together apps will drag Google Voice into the picture
2) Google will compete with Skype for SMB dollars and long distance dialing dollars.
Where Business Week doesn’t get it–
1) Implying that Google Voice will be more than a SMB alternative to replace Cisco and Microsoft offerings. NOT. SMB hosted is different than the larger enterprise offerings that Cisco and Microsoft have out.
2) Implying that GV – a FMC-esque app if you have multiple numbers all over the place — challenges Truphone and Jajah’s revenue in the mobile VoIP space. Truphone has the whole SIM card play so I think they’re OK. Jajah runs VoIP calling for other companies, so I don’t see them taking a big hit here…
Forget all this crap about Google Voice being “your next phone company.” It’s Skype that is going to have some issues.
The Goog was brainwashing, showing off its latest Google Voice apps to Om Malik yesterday, with Google Voice service for BlackBerry and Android clients available. Integration with GV and address book, cheap long distance calls, yadda-yadda.
I should have seen the Android client coming; that was a no brain, brothers… but the BlackBerry client should be a wakeup call to a lot of people. Skype’s been working on a BlackBerry phone client for a while, but it ain’t available for download today as a beta. Since Skype wants to collect business dollars and CrackBlackBerry is the de facto favorite of the biz community, there is a serious hole in the portfolio, hmm? Be interesting to hear why all the delays in a Skype for BlackBerry client. Heck, even Agito Networks has a FMC client for BlackBerry!
Now, let’s talk about pre-loading apps on cell phones, shall we? Skype has been fighting with carriers to get its app pre-loaded on phones with mixed success, but the company has been relatively quiet of late in stomping its feet about open networks and net neutrality. If you buy an Android phone, having the mobile GV client included as a part of the load would seem to be a natural fit if the carrier allows — and if it doesn’t, it looks like the first or second app an Android fan boy would download to complement his shiny-new ‘droid phone. True, Skype is preloaded on more cellular platforms around the world these days, but not a Lot More.
Given that Google is more “open” than Skype on software matters and has a MUCH BIGGER market cap than Skype, when Google goes up to lobby about open networks and net neutrality, legislators are likely to pay more attention.
Finally, there’s the whole momentum/integration thing going on, whereas Skype is a one-trick (communications) pony. You have Google, the Search Engine, plus Gmail, plus Google Voice, plus Android, plus all the other beta stuff floating around. Put together gmail, the search engine, and Google Voice, plus the small-but-growing Android installed base and there’s a good chunk of critical mass right there.
Will this displace Skype? Well, not today certainly, but if GV rolls in some quick and dirty Twitter support — and it will, because Google has no problem playing with others when it suits its master plan — one might start to see some cracks in Skype’s walled-garden approach to the world. Software can come off phones and computers (well, just get forgotten) as easily as it can be loaded.
After two weeks of hype and rumors, Google Voice is starting to hand out phone numbers to its waiting list. Although, after yesterday’s “Today” show segment, the company might not have had a choice.
I guess I am suffering from Google-burnout, between the hype for Google Voice, how Google is supposed to respond to Bing, Chrome, Android, Google’s troubles with China on censorship, Google Wave, and Google Book Search…
In the “Today Show” segment, there was happy gushing from NBC News user Janet Shamlian, how it made her life easier and for her family to get in touch with her yadda-yadda. Little downside was given in the piece other than potential privacy concerns since The Google gets access to your recorded voice conversations, voicemail (probably a more valid point if they start datamining the contents, even in a generic fashion) and everything else that flows through GV, like call data. Heaven forbid that The Goog use that data to target ads!
We’ll see how long it takes for me to get a Google Voice number. I’m not really convinced it is going to do anything greater for me than my current phone service(s) of Cox (landline) and Sprint (mobile). Cox has added online Phone Tools, so I’ll get the visual voice mail component and call forwarding set on line. I don’t have a gazillion phone numbers to manage, so being able to simultaneous ring a bunch of devices Does Not Make Sense for me.
Finally, there’s the whole “hand Google my primary phone number when they finally get around to supporting it.” So, I give Google my house number, and I need a new number (no doubt provided out of the million number stash Google has allegedly built) for my landline and this makes sense because…?
If Google Voice such a big-deal/game changing service, it won’t take too terribly long for everyone else (translation: Any voice service provider with a softswitch and purchasing a service pack upgrade) to do the same thing After all, GrandCentral/Google Voice has had about two years of “betas,” so it has given those mean old phone companies and the vendors who support them plenty of time to figure out how to replicate the services on their own networks.
Andy Abramson is reporting that Google Voice now has a signup page to stand in line for the service. More specifically, the page says:
“Google Voice invitation request
Please leave your name and email, and we’ll invite you as soon as Google Voice becomes available. If you left us your email address previously on the GrandCentral site, you don’t need to resubmit it here.”
Instead of being “available,” as most of the leaks were implying, The Goog seems to be playing the same crappy head games as it did with the availability of Gmail — tease people that the product is coming, making it available to a limited number of people, and then, posits Andy, get those people to invite in other people.
Your phone is not your email. And I’m waiting for someone to throw a fit over all these “free” phone numbers getting tossed around into the system. If The Google does have over a million phone numbers reserved and ready to hand out, it’s going to cause a crunch somewhere in the national system of allocating phone numbers. No such thing as a free lunch, my friends.
Posted June 22, 2009on:
Google Voice was suppose to open to the public last week. And it has purportedly reserved one milllllion phone numbers to hand out as freebies, claims Network World’s inside source.
So today, the world sits with baited breath – NOT. I really wish the Google fanboys would get a life and remember some history.
Wishful speculation that Google would do to the phone companies what it has done for voice have been taking place since The Goog started buying up long haul circuits to connect its data centers — I mean, this was back when the VON shows were in full swing a couple of years ago.
Instead, what came out was GoogleTalk, an IM client with a peer-to-peer voice feature and no PSTN connectivity or phone numbers — and P.S., the website still has it in beta.
But lo, The Goog bought GrandCentral in 2007 and the fan boys rejoiced again. Surely, this would be the application to slay the phone companies! And then … nothing, as GrandCentral stayed in beta and stayed, and stayed…
Fast forward to this spring, and Google Voice is relaunched in a restricted beta with some new bells and whistles. More rumors last week that Google Voice would go public on Thursday … but not. A TechCrunch leak/rumor that Google Voice will, somewhere down the road, support number porting, so you can take that phone number you have and hand it over to The Google.
Maybe there’s some synergistic future where Android and Google Voice work together, but Android currently has more traction than whatever they’ve got going at GV…
TechCrunch says Google Voice is really, truely going to offer number portability as well as some mobile UC/FMC smart-phone functionality. Why do normally sane people lose all common sense when it comes to what Google does?
Yes, Google Voice nee’ GrandCentral, is a really cool service to unite your mobile and landline number(s) and, yes it would be really nice if GV adds number portability later this year, but just the gushing over what should have been a no-brainer basic feature is galling.
Regrettably, a lot of people have this cult-like wish that Google Voice will be a big club against the head of the traditional phone companies. If Google spent more than two cents to actually PROMOTE Google Voice, I might buy into the dream.
Or if Google hadn’t sat on GrandCentral for a year before releasing the (barely improved) Google Voice service this spring, I might buy into it, but the March ’09 release of GV included voicemail transcripts to email, archiving and searching of SMS text message and the “I can’t believe this unoriginal idea” of low-cost international calls to generate revenue. Ptah! I expect better from a company that has billions to burn!
When GV moves out of the novelty phase and starts generating real revenue, it will be time to get excited.