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Google Voice-Gizmo5 Combination Means Free Inbound, Outbound Calling

TechCrunch reported this morning that Google has bought Gizmo5 for $30 million. Gizmo5 is a SIP-based Internet phone service that competes with Skype. Such an acquisition would make sense, given the already-close relationship between Google's Voice service and Gizmo5. One little-noticed effect of that relationship is that the combined services already allow free inbound and outbound calling to and from the PSTN via Internet-connected PCs with headsets. A formal acquisition would presumably make such calling even easier.

Google Voice by itself allows users to make and receive unlimited free calls to and from PSTN numbers. The main limitation is that it also requires them to have a phone line. Incoming calls to Google Voice numbers, which are also free for users, have to be forwarded to one or more registered phones. Outbound calls use web-activated callback. Users initiate calls by selecting or entering them in the Google Voice Web portal. The service then calls a specified registered phone as well as the one the user is trying to reach, and connects the two calls. The registered phones are typically traditional landline or cellular accounts, both of which of course cost users money.

The potential for totally free service results from the fact that one of the registered phones can be a Gizmo5 soft phone instead of a traditional line. That means users can receive incoming calls directly via their computers, with no need for conventional phones at all. They can also make unlimited free outbound calls via the Google Voice callback service. The combination means they can make and receive unlimited free calls to and from the PSTN without ever touching a physical phone.

That's better even than Skype, which charges for outbound calls to the PSTN. It also charges for inbound numbers on which to receive calls. In short, the Google Voice/Gizmo5 combination represents the first fully free phone service in the world for calls between the Internet and the PSTN. Thus it does away with any need for landline, cellular or prepaid VoIP services.

The reported acquisition would make possible a tighter integration of the two services. The most sensible such integration would be to eliminate the clunky callback approach and let Gizmo5 users make outbound Google Voice calls directly by clicking on a contact's name or using an onscreen dialer. Even more interesting would be introducing adapters into which users could plug physical phones. These could be either USB devices that connect to PCs, or Vonage-type devices that connect directly to broadband Internet ports.

Either way, a Google Voice/Gizmo5 combination could mark the beginning of the end for paid voice service. Google would, of course, still have one problem: Given the fact that it has to pay phone companies to deliver all those outbound calls to the PSTN, it has to find some way to earn revenue from the service.


The Gigaset IP DECT phones have the Gizmo SIP settings built into their connection assistant. All you have to do is enter your gizmo phone number and password, and you have it working. So, the free calling you mentioned doesn't have to be on a softphone, it can be on a "Real" phone system. I got my Gigaset A580ip from Amazon.com. I use the Google Voice dialer to make free outbound calls all the time. Works great.

Google - our next phone company?

So my Dad – an astute entrepreneur in his own right – only calls me regarding EtherSpeak business when he thinks there is something “serious” I need to consider. The last time he called me with such concern – he said “Kid, have you seen this thing called MagicJack?”. Since we are not a residential provider – I told him not too worry. Well, this time he called and said “Kid, Google is moving in to your space. Pack up the kids…” or something to that effect. See " http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/13/google.phone.service/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnn " for the original article

You just can’t ignore the early-warning radar provided courtesy of my Dad, so after reading Ryan Singel’s Wired.com post “Google poised to become your next phone company” I thought I would throw my two cents into the ring.

For the rest of the blog:

Google Voice Service Takes Aim At Telephone Companies: It converts voice mails to text, and even better…nice article

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