>Ring! It’s Gmail’s new voice feature calling – reuters

>Ring! It’s Gmail’s new voice feature calling



Wed, Aug 25 2010

Google announced Wednesday it is offering the ability to make phone calls over the Internet via its popular Gmail service.
Unlike Google’s nearly two-year-old Gmail voice and video chat, which gives users an audio and visual experience online, the new calling feature allows users to dial phone numbers. With this move, Google is competing with Skype , which has long dominated this area.
“Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail ,” wrote Robin Schriebman, a Google software engineer in a blog post . “We’ve been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant, to placing a call when you’re in an area with bad reception.”
Schriebman explained that making a phone call through Gmail works just like a normal phone. Users can click “Call phone” at the top of their chat list and enter a number or a contact name. She added that calls to anyone in the U.S. and Canada will be free “at least for the rest of the year.” She said “very low rates” have been set up for calls to other countries .
So, does Google have the muscle to make Gmail a Skype killer?
Skype, a 7-year-old company, is used by individuals and companies to make video and voice calls over the Internet. According to Skype, its users made 6.4 billion minutes of calls in the first half of 2010.
While Google may be starting out behind in this competition, it has the benefit of its large Gmail user base.
“Skype could get hurt by this,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. “Skype has been offering the ability to call land lines and cell phones for years now. But having it integrated into Google’s Gmail and, assumedly, their other offerings down the road, is quite an extension for Google.”
Olds added that Google, always on the lookout for new streams of revenue, is looking to expand its reach over their customers and to move into complementary markets that will draw more revenue.
“Adding voice calls to their existing product set enhances the user experience and keeps people using Google apps longer and more frequently,” Olds said. “It also keeps people from using another service like Skype, and it certainly may prompt some defections from Skype. Google definitely has the scale and reach to put a big dent in Skype if Google can deliver on the service side.”
The voice calling feature is expected to be rolled out to U.S.-based users over the next few days, according to Google. Users will need to install Google’s voice and video plug-in and watch for the “Call Phones” button to appear on their chat list.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon’s RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .
Read more about networking in Computerworld’s Networking Topic Center.
Original story – here
© Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Thomson Reuters group of companies around the world.
Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to colleagues, clients or customers, use the Reprints tool at the top of any article or visit: www.reutersreprints.com.






_______________________________________

Check it out on The MasterTech Blog
Advertisements



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: