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Google allegedly acquires VoIP provider Gizmo5 for $30 million

Nov. 10, 2009 (8:02 am) By: Christian Zibreg

Gizmo5 desktop app (screenshot 001)A strategic acquisition could turn Google into a full VoIP provider. Gizmo5 might integrate with Gtalk and Google Voice, allowing you to call landlines from Gmail and place and receive VoIP calls to your Google Voice number on your computer or smartphone.

Hours after Google confirmed it has acquired the mobile advertising firm AdMob for a cool $750 million, the search monster has become the subject of an interesting rumor. The story goes that Google acquired the SIP VoIP provider Gizmo5 for $30 million in a bid to combine Gizmo5’s VoIP solution with its Gtalk software and Google Voice telephony service. As a result, a Skype killer would be born.

We wouldn’t normally publish such a rumor if it wasn’t for TechCrunch’s Michael Arlington who put his credibility behind the deal that is, as he wrote, “done.” TechCrunch’s founder cited “multiple sources with knowledge of the deal” claiming that the Mountain View-based search giant will announce the deal shortly.

Gizmo5, founded in 2003, provides desktop and mobile clients for IM, free computer-to-computer VoIP calls, and cheap VoIP calls to mobile and landlines.

Gizmo5 had been offering free calls from a computer to landlines and mobile numbers anytime, anywhere to users who promoted its product until the company discontinued the offer in March 2009. Like Skype, Gizmo5 lets you purchase a Voice In number starting from $3 a month. People can call this number and you pick up calls on a computer. Gizmo5 interoperates with other SIP-based network clients, including the public switched telephone network. The Gizmo5 client uses proprietary codecs like GIPS and iSAC, a Skype-popularized wideband adaptive codec. It also supports Google Voice allowing you to make and receive calls to your Google Voice number from your computer.

Read more at TechCrunch

Christian’s Opinion

Skype should be concerned if Google cuts this deal. With Gizmo5 under its wing, Google could integrate Gtalk, Gizmo5, and Google Voice into a single unified communication solution. Paired with Google Apps, this hypothetical all-in-one cloud offering might lure many more companies to go Google because of the convenience. Gtalk uses SIP and Jabber protocols to connect nodes, allowing you to place voice and video calls to SIP-compliant VoIP services from Gmail. If Gizmo5 becomes a Gtalk intermediary, you might theoretically be able to place calls to landlines from within Gmail’s web interface. Cool, huh?

Gizmo5 could also provide an end-to-end connectivity for Google Voice, transforming a clever telephony service into a true VoIP solution. Without Gizmo5, Google Voice requires a landline or mobile phone number where incoming calls are received. With a little help from Gizmo5, you would only need a Google Voice number in order to make and receive calls anywhere via a computer. True, Skype does a similar thing but it lacks the advanced telephony features of Google Voice. If I were Skype, I’d be frightened right now.

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