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September 01, 2010

Advanced Carrier Services: Can Google's UC Strategy Be Beat?

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Google (News - Alert) grabbed much attention last week when the company launcheda VoIP calling system for its Gmail platform and reached one million calls in the first day. One of the reasons it is grabbing so much attention is that it has significant implications for Unified Communications platforms throughout the industry.

In a recent Metaswitch blog, implications beyond the immediate benefits of the Google Gmail service – which still does not have a name – and what it means for the long-term in relation to Google’s plans for UC deployments are highlighted. It is also important to examine the reaction of other key players in this space. 

There are a few points Metaswitch makes that are worth consideration, including the indications that Google is serious about Unified Communications (News - Alert) and the role that voice plays in this platform. A strategy is evidently at play here as the Internet giant has expanded with the acquisitions of GrandCentral, Gizmo5 and Global IP Solutions (News - Alert).

Expect to see Google continue to innovate and expect the advancements to be based more on integration with existing Google services than simple capabilities. Think about what you may get when Google Docs is combined with Google Mail-plus-Voice – real-time document collaboration integrated with multi-party voice and video.

It is also important to note that Google has clearly demonstrated that it does not view traditional telephony as a competitor, but instead as an irrelevant anachronism. In other words, Google doesn’t care about the other company’s business model.

Google clearly believes that the softphone is mainstream and this trend will be heavily driven by the increased adoption of video calling. The PC is morphing into the center of communications at the desktop. While there are still some who prefer the feel of the hard desk phone; most will grow accustomed to using the high-resolution screen.

Finally, Google has definitely demonstrated the power of Android (News - Alert) and its role in the overall UC strategy. Except for Nokia and Apple, all other major handset manufacturers have embraced the open source operating system. Rumor has it that Nokia won’t be able to hold out for long and Apple (News - Alert) – well, Apple can still hold its own. That said, the tablet market is expected to be built on Android.

A number of carriers today are trying to replicate existing services on an IP infrastructure and while thousands of dollars and man-hours will be spent trying to figure out how to move Voice over LTE, Google will be doing it the moment carriers tune up the first data-only LTE networks.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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