Nov 16 AT 10:05 PM Taylor Wimberly 21 Comments

It’s (un)official: Google to take on Skype

Here is a quick bit we missed in our time off last week.  Google snatched up Gizmo5, a company that provides Internet-based calling software for mobile phones and computers. This doesn’t necessarily mean Google Voice will offer VOIP calling, but I think everyone knows it is eventually coming. The carriers are going to fight it, but they will eventually become dumb pipes just like our ISPs.

The main Gizmo5 site is currently down, but you can see what they were offering before the Google acquisition by visiting the dev site. Gizmo5 services included voice calls, instant messaging, file sharing, SMS, and video calls. Google is reporting the Gizmo5′s engineers will be joining the Google Voice team to continue improving the Google Voice experience.

I truly believe video calls from smartphones will be the next big thing and it could happen in 2010. The carriers are beefing up their networks (see T-Mobile’s HSPA 7.2) and will have the bandwidth to support such a service. The only thing we are missing are phones with front facing cameras and those are starting to appear.

Are we really ready for hand held video calls next year?

Features offered in Gizmo5.

Features offered by Gizmo5.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://sweeterskins.net Lemon

    Dude, video calling has been around for years, for about 2-3 years all 3G phones sold with front facing cameras. It’s garbage on mobiles – not because the tech can’t handle it, but because we’re not socially accustomed to it. So it flopped. The only people to really use it are those folks separated by distance (family, new babies etc) but now they have skype etc.

    Video calling your friends is largely pointless… you see them all the time anyway.

  • ivaylo

    Well it is about time we get video calls. Video calls have been used in europe for some time now. Its not the missing technologies, it was carriers stoping the progress. Carriers like AT&T that takes off the front facing cameras from US phone models. Check the HTC’s diamond europeans and US models. Did you notice something missing on the US model?

  • just some dude

    check the first post on this forum the 4rth pictures shows calling via IP, interesting.

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=582508

  • http://blog.tenkely.net Tenkely

    I kind of agree with Lemon… We have been seeing, using, and hearing about video for years. Trouble is people just are not that into it. Maybe that will change over time, but who knows.

  • http://n/a Jonathan m

    Agrees with ivaylo video conferencing has been around fir quit sometime. Especially in Europe! Just look at almost every Nokia phone!
    I personally don’t think it will be ad big here.
    Nice to have though : )

  • Ramon

    We are ready for it but its nothing big since it kills the battery faster. I think people will find it a invasion of privacy. Just think your wife calls you asking where are, you lying that you at a bar won’t again. She would just say turn on the video cam, caught cheating. Lol. Undevelope countries like the island of Jamaica has video calling for a year now, you don’t see thoose ‘talk a alot’ people rushing for one. Too much mixup.

  • carig

    if google voice goes VOIP some interesting possibilities could spring up, verizon has that $50/month data only plan for the droid phones, combine that with google voice using VOIP and you’ve got a damn good deal

    as for the video calling becoming commonplace, it’s all one big nerdy fantasy if you ask me

  • J

    Video calling has been in the UK around 6 years along with 3G. Most people have 3G phones these days, many with front facing cameras but I don’t know anyone who uses it other than for the odd novelty call. Who really wants to see someone when talking on the phone? its just wierd for everyday calling.

  • Richy

    Crap. Now that definately means a proper fully fledged skype wont appear on android. I’m not taking up a new Voip system when everyone i know already uses skype.

    That’s like saying to all your friends on facebook. “Hey everyone, i know you’re all happy here, but i want you to all move to Orkut because that’s the only social networking site i can get on my Pc”.

  • Ivaylo

    It is still nice to have. I am remodeling my home and sometimes I need to show some changes to relatives, and I don’t feel like caring my laptop around. So it is definitely nice to have, but if you don’t like it or don’t have a use for it, don’t use it. The same with any other technology available. I agree that video calling would not replace standard calling but in some instances I think everybody will find it NICE TO HAVE feature.

  • christophersilva

    I disagree with the first comment. I use video calling for work all the time.

  • Tim

    I had video calling on my previous phone, a nokia – almost every nokia feature phone for the last 5 years has had it and outside america, that means a lot of people have them.

    Never really used it, it was novel the first couple of times but there’s really not much point to use it to talk to people you see in person daily or weekly. People just want a voice conversation without having to worry about looking at their phone, holding it out infront of them rather than to their ear etc…

  • http://wave.google.com/help/wave/about.html Ted

    Maybe they will tie it into Google Wave.

  • Tony

    Wow I wasn’t aware video calling didn’t come to the US years ago like it did here. I’ve had it as a feature on my various phones for the last 2 or 3 years.

    I can honestly say it’s the most pointless feature ever, I have never needed to make a video call nor has anyone I know. Quite funny hearing people talking about video calls as an exciting new technology whereas here it’s regarded as pointless and seems to be being phased out of our phones again (thankfully).

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  • DonIsGood

    When I had my Nokia (before I am converted to htc Hero), I used VIDEO CALLING all the time with my wife, especially when I was in supermarket shopping for her.

    Trust me guys, VIDEO CALLING saves your life and avoids buying the wrong stuff and getting blame for the stuff-up.

    I love my htc Hero and wish it offers VIDEO CALLING!!!!!!

    • Tim

      Do you always type like that or do you work providing online ADVERTISING in the form of spam and junk comments to people who would otherwise not be interested in seeing ADVERTISING in their favorite sites.

      I really don’t like ADVERTISING.

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  • stonedgenius

    Make free outgoing/incoming calls on an(y) android device, without using Gizmo 5/Sipsorcery/Evan Charlton’s GV app.

    Gizmo5 subscriptions are closed, Sipsorcery is not giving new accounts, Here is the FIX. No Gizmo5, No Sipsorcery.

    Useful links:
    SipgateOne — http://www.sipgate.com/one
    Sipdroid — http://code.google.com/p/sipdroid/downloads/list
    Dolphin HD — http://browser.mgeek.mobi/
    Google Voice — http://www.google.com/voice

    Free VOIP calls from android over WiFi/3g. No cell phone minutes charged. Minimal setup.

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