I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Internet is the greatest disintermediation force the business world has ever seen and middlemen the world over are being eliminated.
Yesterday, Google announced it has added a “you can call any phone right from Gmail” feature into it’s extremely popular free email service. Google has had the Google Voice and Video Chat feature integrated into Gmail for some time, but until now, both users had to be sitting in front of a computer to speak to one another.
Today, you can call any landline, as well as call and text any cell phone, directly from your Gmail window — for free!
The intent, ostensibly, is to offer high value added features to draw in new users from Google’s competitors, as well as, increase the amount of time existing users spend on the Gmail platform.
Gmail now becomes an all in one communications platform:
I don’t expect everyone with an old school landline (AT&T, Bell South, Verizon etc.) to rush out and cancel their home telephone service, but I do expect that many web savvy individuals will begin talking about this free landline service more and more. Naturally, it will take some time to trickle down to the masses, but keeping in touch is still expensive, so having a free home telephone and being installed on a highly used platform like Gmail will give Google Voice and Phone a huge advantage.
And while Google Phone isn’t ideal for everyone, it’s about to become the low cost — dare I say no cost — alternative for even the most non-web savvy individuals, who at bare minimum, have a Plain Jane email account. It could also become a bridge, albeit a temporary one knowing Apple, for iPad users who want some type of voice communication ability.
Guess I’ll have to rethink my MagicJack investment when it comes time to renew my annual subscription, but I still think there is some value left to be found with a USB based VoIP phone.
For additional details and to learn how to install the free Google Voice and Video Chat plugin, checkout Google’s blog.