At the end of last week the big news in the tech and telecom worlds was that Google had integrated its fledgling Google Voice technology into its wildly popular Gmail email service. News out today reveals that Google’s new VoIP service carried over 1 million Gmail calls in its first day of service alone, that’s about 1 in every 3000 calls placed in America on that day.
Although this says little towards the possibility of any real long-term success for Google’s new phone service, the fact that even I—a tech blogger who has surpringly little time for the newest gadgets and gizmos—used the Gmail phone service twice on Friday should speak volumes to not only the service’s clarity and functionality, but also its ease of use. It took little more than installing the Google Voice plugin and putting on my headset and I was back doing what I hadn’t done in quite awhile…making phone calls.
It didn’t take long, however, for Google to initiate its next plan towards controlling how people communicate; a plan, should it succeed, that will likely see the end of payphone service across the nation.
Even with the initial success of its calling service, it looks like Google has already initiated a large scale plan to create awareness for its new free VoIP calling service. The search engine giant has stated its intention to install retro phone booths at universities and airports across the country in a nationwide effort to develop awareness of its free calling service.
If this sort of advertising campaign pays off, look for Google to expand its free service to other public events, essentially killing off the last vestiges of nationwide payphone services–a phone service, granted, that’s already in its death throes.
But before we start singing Google’s praises for finally making the antiquated art of making regular phone calls absolutely free, I have a feeling this honeymoon period won’t last forever. Sure Google says its intention is to keep its domestic calling service absolutely free—so long as the amount users spend on international calls is able to cover the domestic costs—if the Gmail phone service continues to grow in popularity look for Google to find some way to make money off of it.
Despite my perpetual suspicions about Apple trying to control the world with its draconian mobile policies, its bully tactics, and its white-washed vision of our technological future, I tend to think Google is more likely the front-runner for global supremacy. The reason being, Google just seems so innocent, so willing to help, which makes it a perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing.
But until the day that Android-powered robots kick in my door, I’m going to keep enjoying the fully integrated online communication experience that Google provides, and hopefully make a few calls on those retro style phone booths.