Google has acquired Gizmo5, a Voice over the Internet Protocol network and software provider. The acquisition is designed to enhance Google Voice, but it’s a game changer.
Google has been answering to the FCC lately about concerns over potential regulatory violations surrounding it’s Voice service. AT&T publicly complained that Google had been restricting high-priced calls that telecommunications were forced by regulation. Google defended Voice by saying it’s a call management system and not a true telecommunications provider.
Specifically, Google pointed out that it was not a VoIP service. Of course, that all changes with this acquisition. Google seems to be trying to downplay the change though, by vaguely labeling Gizmo5 an “Internet-based calling software” provider. This is in line with their defense of Google Voice as a web-based call management system. But careful wording isn’t going to fool anybody.
Not that it’s wrong for Google to get into the telecommunications game. And their entry raises some important questions about obviously outdated government regulations (which is ultimately AT&T’s concern). But they’ll make their point better if they stay honest about Google Voice with their acquisition.
It’s possible that Google Voice will stay the same and Gizmo5’s VoIP service will be nixed. But Google Voice as a call management system is somewhat limited. The demand for Google Voice shows that the public is ready for something more than what the telcos currently (are able to) provide. Far be it from Google to take on that challenge.