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Google Plans Google Voice Enhancements

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December 31, 2009

Google Plans Google Voice Enhancements

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

After Google's acquisition of Gizmo5 (News - Alert), it was inevitable that speculation would mount about Google Voice adding full VoIP initiation capabilities to its Web-activated calling services. It is a logical move, for any number of reasons. And now Google (News - Alert) seems to be hinting that something is forthcoming.

In a post on eWeek, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president, said that Google Voice and cloud computing will be huge plays for the search engine giant in 2010. Without providing specifics, Horowitz says Google wants voice to be freed up from any silos. In a Google context, that implies integration with Web experiences and likely mobility as well.
“Voice mail; my contacts; all of those things have been segregated from the rest of my Web experience,” Horowitz said. “We have big plans to do a better job.”
“We want to make sure you're communication is available to you irrespective of where you are at, what device you have in your pocket,” Horowitz added.
Horowitz said Google sees not only the future of communications funneling through the Web, but every computing service for work and play.
“What we're trying to do with telephony is give people a seamless experience that frees up their telephony communication from the silos where it's lived for the last decade,” Horowitz said. For some observers, that means fuller integration with Google Web pages and applications, or perhaps any Web page. For others it means VoIP calling using any broadband network or any smartphone with Wi-Fi or broadband access. 
Some will see an obvious application for the Nexus One smartphone Google is introducing in January 2010. It might be going too far to say Google wants to be a communications service provider. To the extent it wants to do that, it is more akin to wanting to run long-haul capacity networks and server farms. Those things are inputs and supports for its business, not the business it is in.
Still, some will probably note that the distinction, though correct, has implications somewhat similar to what would be the case if Google actually did want to become a communications service provider. It will be supplying communications functions and features directly to end users. The extent to which those features supplant or increase the volume of communications remains to be seen.
But there are not many observers who think either Google or Apple (News - Alert) will forever lack the ability to create, package, integrate and support voice communication capabilities on a more-active scale than either firm does at present. Horowitz hints at such a future.

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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