Google Becomes (Almost) Full-Fledged Telecom, Vonage, Skype, Others In Sites

Last Updated Nov 13, 2009 1:34 PM EST

You knew that Google wanted to be in the telecom business when it bid for wireless spectrum. You knew that it really wanted to be in the telecom business when it acquired GrandCentral and eventually created Google Voice. Well, here comes the next step: Google just bought VoIP software vendor and service provider Gizmo5, and everyone over at Vonage and Skype must be quaking in their shoes.
While we don't have any specific features to announce right now, Gizmo5's engineers will be joining the Google Voice team to continue improving the Google Voice and Gizmo5 experience. Current Gizmo5 users will still be able to use the service, though we will be suspending new signups for the time being, and existing users will no longer be able to sign up for a call-in number.
Instead of being a phone add-on, Google Voice will be able to offer VoIP calling -- plus, Gizmo5 had a mobile option that let people make calls from cell phones over a 3G or WiFi network, meaning that Google will not only be able to go after Skype and Vonage, but also will siphon revenue from the wireless carriers.

In fact, we might have seen this coming as Google had a Google Voice-Gizmo5 mashup. Guess the workaround isn't going to be so important any more.

Image via stock.xchng user scottind, site standard license.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.