Voice merging in to the bigger networks
July 9th, 2007

Google has acquired GrandCentral Communication, a start-up that lets all your voice stuff act like one account. A ZDNet report about the acquisition brings up several interesting issues. I found the link to the report in an OpenGardens post called ‘Grand Central: I am not a number – I am a tag’ where the acquisition is noted as an indication of the tag point. Things may be changing to where we no longer think of a in terms of voice as a mobile with some features. The phone feature is becoming a network player in several emerging ways:

“If you have multiple phone numbers [eg, home, work, cell], you get one phone number that you can set to ring all, some, or none of your phones,” Wesley Chan, a Google product manager, said [about the GrandCentral acquisition] in a blog post on his company’s website.

“This way, your phone number is tied to you, and not your location or job,” he said.

Rather than competing directly with the likes of Vodafone or China Telecom, many of these newer web-based calling services are focused on incorporating phone-like talk features into internet services on blogs or social network sites like MySpace or Facebook.

Konstantin Guericke, the co-founder of Silicon Valley-based business networking site LinkedIn, took over as the chief executive of web-calling service Jaxtr late last year.

“The way I see it, social networks and blogs are about communication and the phone hasn’t been really in the mix,” Guericke said, following news of Google’s acquisition.

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