Telephony has become big business. With everyone connected via mobile phones, Skype, VoIP and a host of other alternatives to traditional landline communication systems, suppliers have to fight harder than ever to maintain their share of the market. But now they could have another rival in the marketplace – search engine giant Google.
Google acquired a system known as GrandCentral technology in 2007 and, in their own inimitable style, repackaged and relaunched it onto the marketplace in 2009 under the name Google Voice. It basically offers customers a Google ‘phone number’. When people call that number, Google reroutes the call to a person’s normal handset, rather than having to go through the Skype system of taking the call on the PC.
Although Google Voice seems to be a viable alternative to VoIP and Skype, it does have its drawbacks. Calls are not free if you still have to pay landline charges and connection fees. But by merging the two latest technologies together and using Google Voice alongside a VoIP package, it is possible to put together a package that (apart from the very low cost monthly charges for a VoIP user package) will give you cheap or even free national and international calls.
A merging of technology
VoIP (or Voice over Internet Protocol) has been around for 15 years, and in that time the technology has leapt ahead. Using the Internet to make phone calls seemed to be somewhat slow to take off initially, but as customers realised that it gave them the opportunity to make Internet phone calls for a fraction of the cost of normal landline calls, it has rapidly gained in popularity. Estimates are that by 2015 VoIP could be worth in the region of £21billion in revenue to suppliers. Internet calls are particularly good for making long distance calls to international numbers, allowing friends and family to stay in touch no matter where in the world they are.
By combining the features available on Google Voice with a VoIP set-up, customers can gain the best of both worlds. Google Voice offers a host of features including conference calling facilities, caller ID and screening. But the biggest advantage of this combination is that ability to get cheap or free calls whenever and wherever you are.
A 21st Century approach to telephony
Meshing technologies like VoIP and Google Voice to make Internet phone calls is still in its infancy. Both VoIP and Google Voice as independent entities are still both growth industries, and for many, the thought of connecting the two seems like an added complication to an already complicated lifestyle. But with the growth of smart phones, mobile communications via the Internet is set to become the future of telephony. So why not utilise two powerful products to take advantage of cheaper calls? Sound quality on PCs, laptops and even the latest iPad mean that, as long as you can connect up to a broadband network, you can make calls wherever and whenever you want to. By going through a free service like Gizmo, that merging of VoIP and Google Voice is even easier. It may be that, in the not too distant future, international calls on a landline become a thing of the past as people realise just how much money they could save by adopting a 21st Century approach to telephony.