January 24, 2005


Google gears up for a free-phone challenge to BT (Elizabeth Judge, 1/24/05, Times of London)

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. [...]

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.

Nothing ever gets more expensive anymore.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2005 9:02 AM

The big telecom issue right now is that there is, as a pratical matter, no marginal cost from the last discrete use of the the network (i.e., there's no extra cost for the last phone call, or computer network user, or cable watcher). That, plus convergence, is pushing everything towards a monthly fee with unmetered use. When that hits business use, as it must, the whole telecoms industry will shake-out.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 24, 2005 12:13 PM

I suspect it's already hitting. My former big tech company is completely IP telephony internally. 5 years ago, calls between offices were long distance. Now they're over a company owned datapipe. More secure and way cheaper. The official phone company never sees a call that goes between two employees at work. Even traveling employees make calls by first getting an IPSEC tunnel to the corporate net from a hotel or WIFI cafe and then calling via that.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 24, 2005 3:10 PM