Confirmed: VoIP capabilities coming to Google Voice

After Google's acquisition of Gizmo5 back in November, people could not help but wonder if and when it would be fully integrated with Google Voice. Ever since the announcement, speculation has flooded the Internet. Rumors about Google's upcoming phone being VoIP only began circulating, and excitement has continued to build.

Today, those rumors are all beginning to come together. In a post on eWeek, Google executive, Bradley Horowitz, has openly admitted that Google plans to implement VoIP into their Google Voice service sometime in 2010. This will allow users to make phone calls via any data connection, regardless of a voice plan.

"What we're trying to do with telephony is give people a seamless experience that frees up their telephony communication from the silos where it's lived for the last decade. Voicemail, my contacts, all of those things have been segregated from the rest of my Web experience. We have big plans to do a better job.

Voicemail transcription, inbox integration and threaded SMS are fantastic features, but we're really just scratching the surface. Gizmo5 gives us talent and talent technology. They have specific tech and skills in further integrating telephony with devices and desktop and Web-based computing. We want to make sure you're communication is available to you irrespective of where you are at, what device you have in your pocket, etc."

This could change the entire telephony landscape. Soon, a user will be able to take any phone with Wi-Fi capabilities (and Google Voice support) and use it on their home's wireless network as a free, unlimited calling, house phone. Not only that, but this confirmation by Horowitz may actually justify the $530 price tag that the unlocked Nexus One is rumored to carry. If Google Voice will do VoIP straight from an Android phone, users would need nothing more than a pre-paid, data-only, SIM card to have a truly unlimited cell phone. Perhaps Google's January 5th announcement will discuss the future of full Android/Google Voice integration. This would completely cut out wireless carriers from being able to charge for voice services. The world of cell phones as we know it, will cease to exist. There's no mention of a specific date in 2010, but rest assured, Google VoIP will arrive soon, and when it does, it's sure to shake things up.

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VOIP on cellphone's is nothing new, so why would Google's foray in to it mean anything different to anyone else's, such as Skype?

Landline calls aren't going anywhere for a looong time. The internet just doesn't have the capacity to replace the phone network completely.

The Internet handles millions of YouTube videos everyday I'm sure it could deal with low bandwith use like this. The problem might be the 3G/LTE wouldn't be able to handle it.

And how many of those YouTube video's stutter and stop completely during peak times? I'm on a 50mbit line, but I still get that happen at times.

NOT something you want happening during a phone call...

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
Unless I'm mistaken, VoIP calls happen to use far less bandwidth than streaming videos. Videos are one of the most data intensive things out there. Kinda crazy.

Yeah, VoIP is happy with a few K per second. I think with Vonage, their low/med/high speeds are 30 Kbps, 50 Kbps, and 90 Kbps. That's kilobits, or dial up speed.

Xenomorph said,
Yeah, VoIP is happy with a few K per second. I think with Vonage, their low/med/high speeds are 30 Kbps, 50 Kbps, and 90 Kbps. That's kilobits, or dial up speed.

I knew it was a little amount, but I didn't realize it was that low. But also, doesn't VoIP requires a stream in both directions? Still... even EDGE could probably handle that, couldn't it?

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
I knew it was a little amount, but I didn't realize it was that low. But also, doesn't VoIP requires a stream in both directions? Still... even EDGE could probably handle that, couldn't it?

Yes EDGE could. Also, since all internet communication needs two way communication that should be fine as well.

In really bandwidth tight situations you can use the G.729 codec which only needs 8Kbps of bandwidth in both directions per channel (line).

Frazell Thomas said,
Yes EDGE could. Also, since all internet communication needs two way communication that should be fine as well.

In really bandwidth tight situations you can use the G.729 codec which only needs 8Kbps of bandwidth in both directions per channel (line).

That's wicked! I never knew that. Do you have a source for all that? I'd love to see the different quality levels that can be done via VoIP. That also makes me more comfortable with the possibility of the Nexus One doing that on T-Mo (fingers crossed).

It will be very exciting to have "Voice over internet protocol" options in google voice.But Google Voice certainly has the potential to be disruptive. By adding a means of voice communications that isn't necessarily reliant on wireline and cellular carriers, Google will further position itself to make a real impact as an alternative telco. At the same time, calls to land lines and cell phones will still rely on conventional carriers.
Robert@link wheelers

It will be very exciting to have "Voice over internet protocol" options in google voice.But Google Voice certainly has the potential to be disruptive. By adding a means of voice communications that isn't necessarily reliant on wireline and cellular carriers, Google will further position itself to make a real impact as an alternative telco. At the same time, calls to land lines and cell phones will still rely on conventional carriers.

Google Voice is already VoIP - you can make calls on it and SMS for free in the US, and very cheap to other parts of the world. The only news is that there are looking to be plans of direct competition with Skype with a PC application of their own.

With Google Voice, you can currently dial your Google Voice number to make free long distance calls, and use voice.google.com to initiate a phonecall to yourself to interface with it. All free. There's not a single charge for local or long distance calls. ZIlch.

@nullie True, you can make free calls from your computer with GV, but it's not done through VoIP. You make a request from your computer for Google to call both your phone, and the phone that you're calling. It's all handled through regular phone lines, not over the Internet. VoIP would allow you to actually initiate the calls through the Internet, as well as terminate them via the Internet. Currently, GV would use your phone's minutes because in the end, it's nothing more than a regular phone call. VoIP wouldn't use minutes at all, just your data connection, like any other Internet connected app.

I hope that helps clear up the confusion :)

@mrp04 You can call any country and you pay the rates that Google has in their list of International Rates. You pre-load money into your GV account. Oh, and Canada is free to call, just like the US.

That's not what VoIP is, VoIP is merely sending the data over IP protocol. Google Voice does this to connect your phone calls and transfer everything around. I guess what you think Google Voice is doing is really becoming a full fledged telephone service provider.

nullie said,
That's not what VoIP is, VoIP is merely sending the data over IP protocol. Google Voice does this to connect your phone calls and transfer everything around. I guess what you think Google Voice is doing is really becoming a full fledged telephone service provider.

Not at all... According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voip), this how VoIP works:

"VoIP systems employ session control protocols to control the set-up and tear-down of calls as well as audio codecs which encode speech allowing transmission over an IP network as digital audio via an audio stream."

With GV, your phone calls are never encoded into digital audio. GV is merely making the initial phone connection for your via you phone service provider, kinda like a calling card. The only thing being done over an "IP network" is the request to Google to initiate the call for you.

This is what will change. Soon, when you make a request for a phone call over the Internet, Google will actually be encoding the data into digital audio to route through the Internet, completely bypassing the need for a voice plan. Think about it. Right now, can you log into GV and make a phone call from your PC like you can with Skype? Nope, cuz it doesn't do VoIP, it merely tells Google to call someone for you.

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear before. Hope I explained it better this time

That's not correct. It is similar to a phone card in that you call to connect to Google's network, and Google places the call for you using it's network, which is currently VoIP. The entire service is a VoIP proxy. What's new to come is that they are working to become a full fledged service provider, requiring only a data connection to place and receive calls rather than landline or mobile phone.

I've had Vonage for a long time. They are great, except for missing one BIG feature: The ability to block a specific number. Some retard harassing you? Tough. Smaller and even cheaper providers let you block individual numbers (you can give them a busy signal every call, or have an operator "this number has been disconnected" error message play).

I would have switched, except none of these dozen+ other small providers may be around very long. I've heard that Vonage has been hurting for years. What makes me think that another provider will be around very long at all? I also don't know how good their service is.

If Google offers a VoIP service like Vonage (with real hardware), and they let me block numbers, I will switch to them.

Technically, you can simply activate blocking private caller ID, which forces their number to show, and you can simply call the cops and show them phone logs, and even record what tehy're saying. It's not that hard.

LiquidSolstice said,
Technically, you can simply activate blocking private caller ID, which forces their number to show, and you can simply call the cops and show them phone logs, and even record what tehy're saying. It's not that hard.

That's actually what Vonage told me to do when I asked them about it: "contact the authorities".

Cops don't have time for crap like that. They'd probably ask me how much of an attempt I've made to TALK to the ******* that keep calling to ask them to stop.

I would like to just block the number and not worry about it any more. I'd pay extra if Vonage offered that feature.

I remember this kind of future being propsed by Google when they were locked in that spectrum auction with Verizon a few years ago. Seems they are getting their wish thanks to the love these carriers have for Android. I can't do anything now, but laugh my head off.

Free calling in homes with wifi makes landlines almost useless. Not that they werent dieing of to begin with but this will certainly quicken the pace.

M2Ys4U said,
ADSL requires a landline to work and I don't see ADSL going anywhere any time soon

ADSL is also getting "no landline required" packages now. I know AT&T is doing it in my area. So you can now have DSL without having a landline phone.

Foxfyre said,
ADSL is also getting "no landline required" packages now. I know AT&T is doing it in my area. So you can now have DSL without having a landline phone.

I'm pretty sure it's actually a federal law that they provide DSL services without requiring home phone service now... and yes, ADSL is dieing as well with the vast expansion of Fiber networks like Comcast and Verizon FIOS are using.

I think the OP was referring to the UK, where you need a BT line for ADSL regardless, which forces you into paying for the line rental - although its to be expected as you are actually using their line!

M2Ys4U said,
ADSL requires a landline to work and I don't see ADSL going anywhere any time soon

Here in Hungary they offer ADSL WITHOUT a Land-line (just a prior existing phone line that was working in the past).

bdsams said,
With WiMax and LTE coming out very soon this seems even more plausable

I got a question - since all 4G technologies are already VOIP (they are simply IP networks, with voice on top), does that make Google Voice even relevant?

Max1978 said,
I got a question - since all 4G technologies are already VOIP (they are simply IP networks, with voice on top), does that make Google Voice even relevant?

Of course! Just because the cell companies are using "VOIP" doesn't change anything. They are still charging per-minute for phone calls, plus the cost of data. As the article mentions, all you'd need is an unlimited data plan to effectively have unlimited phone calls.

But rest assured, the cell networks will adapt their data pricing or limit certain data packages from accessing VOIP networks, so they'll still make their money. What it might mean is that they'll spend more money/resources on improving their data networks if people start becoming solely relient on it for calls.