Ep 35 of 2010
August 30, 2010
Competition in the market place is a truly wonderful thing. Thanks to the new determination of Telstra, chances are right now, you’re enjoying considerably more broadband bandwidth at a price that is less than what you previously paid. Most of the top ISPs have re jigged their offerings to compete with the incumbent and on the downside, it could potentially put the smaller ISPs out of business. I guess that’s the dog eat dog reality of the commercial world we now live in.
Now it’s Google’s turn to get in on the act as Australian Gmail users may have noticed in the past few weeks. Google now allows Gmail users the ability to download a small application, and start making phone calls to the local Australian market for just 2 cents a call and 14 cents per minute to mobiles – that’s USD. More.
Australians who have their Gmail language set to "English US" are able to use the Google Voice plug-in for Gmail to make calls using the microphone on their computer, a service which will no doubt put pressure on existing VOIP providers such as Skype. Your account starts with a 10 cent credit which can be topped up as needed, a clever enticement to go out and try it, just as I did during the week.
The call quality was surprisingly good. In fact, it was better in my opinion that traditional PSTN calls.
Calls and texts to US and Canadian numbers are free with very low rates for calls to phones in other countries. Google announced that over one million calls were placed using Gmail's free calling service in its first 24 hours.
It should be noted that only outgoing calls would work for Australian as incoming calls required the Google Voice application, which has not yet been made available to Australians. In the US, people who obtain a free phone number from Google can receive calls on their PC.
As for a mobile version, not yet. Outgoing calls can only be made via Gmail on users' computer. The service is likely to be a real threat to services like Skype, more so than to traditional phone companies.
With a few free credits it’s worth a try. All you have to do is download the app, open Gmail, click on the "call phone" option in their chat buddy list in Gmail and type in the number or enter a contact's name.
With Google’s wave now dead in the water, maybe the search giant has turned its attention to the traditional marketplace. If nothing else it will certainly re kindle interest in Gmail, and give them an even bigger edge over their competitors Microsoft, Yahoo, and now Skype! If this sort of benefit to consumers is a result of competition – bring it on I say.
This week on Tech Talk Radio
- Google gives Skype a poke with a red hot poker,
- Adam Turner looks at the pros and cons of catch up tv in Australia
- the ANZ Bank release an iPhone app,
- Excom goes belly up,
- Garmin recalls GPS units which catch fire, and
- Windsor tells Gillard to reveal the true cost of the NBN!