From Times Online UK Google gears up for a free phone challenge.
GOOGLE revolutionised the internet. Now it is hoping to do the same with our phones.
The company behind the US-based internet search engine looks set to launch a free telephone service that links users via a broadband internet connection using a headset and home computer.
The technology that will enable Google to move in on the market has been around for some time. Software by the London-based company, Skype, has been downloaded nearly 54 million times around the world but no large telecommunication firms have properly exploited it.
BT, which connects seven out of ten British households, has developed its own internet-telephone service. However, the telephone giant, which has the most to lose if the new technology takes off, has been reluctant to promote it heavily.
Julian Hewitt, senior partner at Ovum, a telecoms consultancy, said: “From a telecoms perspective there is a big appeal in the fact that Google is a search operation — and of course the Google brand is a huge draw.”
Mr Hewitt said that a Google telephone service could be made to link with the Google search engine, which already conducts half of all internet inquiries made around the world. A surfer looking for a clothes retailer could simply find the web site and click on the screen to speak to the shop.
By investing in capacity, Google could circumvent the problems of quality and reliability and guarantee better service.
Although Google is reluctant to talk about its plans, the logical use of such a network would be to help to support a new telephone service. The company would buy capacity cheaply, by taking up slack capacity left behind when the internet bubble collapsed in 2001.
Around the world, thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable remain unused because the amount of speculative development vastly exceeded demand. Such capacity would be available at rock-bottom prices today.
Google is right they aren't a portal. They could be the WWW part 2.