Google to Offer Free Phone Service


Google announced its new service, Google Voice, on Thursday. According to the New York Times:

Google stepped up its attack on the telecommunications industry on Thursday with a free service called Google Voice that, if successful, could chip away at the revenue of companies big and small, like eBay, which owns Skype, telephone companies and a string of technology start-up firms.

Kim Peterson (MSN Money) wrote an interesting piecesummarizing what others have already said about the service, which will come with a lot of features. Whether it will be able to successfully compete with the Internet calling giant Skype remains to be seen. I’m interested in seeing how the voice and Internet-based components of this service will interact and interface with each other. What I like about this service is that it is “platform” agnostic, i.e. calls can be routed to any kind of phone. And, this is just another reason to get rid of your landline.

However, the service does of course raise some potential issues that need to be explored, mostly having to do with your privacy (or increased lack thereof). According to the NYT:

Google Voice may raise more hackles with privacy advocates, and perhaps regulators, than it does with competitors. The service would allow Google, which already collects vast amounts of data about the behavior of Internet users, to gather information on their calling habits.

“It raises two distinct problems,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “In the privacy world, it is increased profiling and tracking of users without safeguards. But the other problem is the growing consolidation of Internet-based services around one dominant company.”

The Informer has another interesting take on a Google-controlled world

Image Credit: Google,


One response to “Google to Offer Free Phone Service

  1. Pingback: VisionMobile :: blog :: Carnival of the Mobilists #165

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