The New Stuff

Is Google Voice Trying To Starve Out Skype In 2011?

Despite launching Google Voice within Gmail, Google is still playing second fiddle to the VoIP king (aka Skype).

While Google has yet to launch a full fledged VoIP client of their own (as Google Voice currently lacks a softphone client), the search engine giant has decided to decline charging US users in 2011 for contacting numbers within America.

When we launched calling in Gmail back in August, we wanted it to be easy and affordable, so we made calls to the U.S. and Canada free for the rest of 2010. In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the new year, we’re extending free calling for all of 2011.

In case you haven’t tried it yet, dialing a phone number works just like a regular phone. Look for “Call phone” at the top of your Gmail chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name. (Google Voice Blog)

Currently Skype (as well as other VoIP companies) provide users with unlimited calling through annual premium plans which allow them to call mobile devices or landlines without paying for usage by the minute.

Although Skype does have a few advantages over its smaller rival (multi-video chat, Facebook integration, etc.), competing against a quality free service will be difficult to for Skype, especially considering the fact that Google has very deep pockets.

While Google Voice is obviously sacrificing short term profits for growth, 2011 could be the year that Google dethrones Skype in America, helping the search engine giant compete against the VoIP king later on upon the global stage.

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