Credit: malabooboo (via Flickr)

Your New Phone Company: Google!

Credit: malabooboo (via Flickr)
Credit: malabooboo (via Flickr)

Your favorite search engine is now all set to serve you as your phone company too. Just listen to this…. you may end up paying just a fraction of what your current phone company charges for your calls.

Google, after shelling out $30 million, is now the new owner of the online phone company, Gizmo5.  The founder of Gizmo5, Michael Robertson, known as the “troublemaker,” is technically smart and made millions during the dot-com boom from  Of course, he was involved in several lawsuits from major record labels during this phase.  He later went on to create the controversial Lindows that created Linux installations for the low-end PCs, and got sued by the mighty Microsoft.  He is not yet free of all these issues.  EMI is suing his current music venture,  Despite this history of lawsuits, he is now going to be the new Adviser to Google Voice.

Gizmo5 is similar to Skype but with a much smaller user base when compared to Skype.  It offers voice-over-IP software for computers and mobile phones. It allows users to make free or low-cost calls.

Google announced through a blog post that the current Gizmo5 users can continue to use the service but new customers will not be able to sign up for now.  The Gizmo5 webpage does not say much.

Credit: Marcopako (via Flickr)
Credit: Marcopako (via Flickr)

Now for those of you who wonder what Google is going to do with it, how about the fact that it takes the open standards-based online calling system and routes the calls on Google’s massive network? Add Google Voice’s free phone number to that, which will ring your land-line as well as mobile phone.  It will also connect to your Gizmo5 client on the laptop.  How much better can it get?

Use Gizmo5 to make extremely cheap outgoing calls to both domestic and international phones, as well as free calls to Google Talk, Skype, AIM and Yahoo users.

How about other phone services like voicemail transcription, free conference calls, voicemails recordings sent to your email, free SMS and customized call routing? A combination of all these services will make this new phone service a deadly combination of the best and one that is even better than Skype.

This vision of integrating Gizmo5 and Google Voice came about even before Google bought the phone company.  Google voice customers can include a Gizmo5 account as one of their phones.

People in the know believe that this is a lethal combination that cannot go wrong and now Google will be in competition with other phone and cable companies, VOIP and Vonage companies.

Google made it clear that Google Voice is not a replacement for a home phone since users will need to have a phone service from some other phone company to use it.  Users can forward calls from a Google Voice number to their Gizmo5 number, but they must have either a landline or a mobile number as well.

By saying this, Google is obviously trying to keep away from the obligations attached to the regular phone system (PSTN) and the wiretapping and 911 requirements applicable to Internet telephony and to the traditional phones.

This is the fourth acquisition announced by Google in one year.  Recently, it also said that it would buy AdMob for $750 million.  Google Voice has about 580,000 active users and almost 1.5 million registered users; although it is still in the invite-only mode.

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