Google Goes After IM and Skype

Normally, August news is slow as ice melting in cool lemonade, but days after Skype announced the opening of their platform, and Yahoo! announced they will be the content portal for Verizon DSL customers, Google mixes the lemonade with news that they are launching an IM client, and also a VoIP client. The IM client is interesting in that it will be far more 'open' than what we've seen from AOL, Yahoo, or MSN. The Google IM, tied to Gmail and experienced as a popup therein, will interoperate by design with lesser IM names Gaim, Trillian, Apple iChat and others. Google Talk, the VoIP component, is designed to be an open platform as well, which developers can integrate into other sites and services. Google, which will use the same codecs as Skype, now appears to be forging head-first into the communication space, and the $4B in stock that the company recently sold to raise cash, will help fund the effort. Google, with a huge user base, is a credible threat to telco revenue and in particular to Skype. It's hard to see a sustainable advantage that Skype has to justify the valuation they put on their company. But Google also has its work cut out: they offer mostly free search services, without much 'user investment'. In my opinion, the biggest of sustainable advantages is customer loyalty borne out of user customization, specifically the "buddy list" or contact manager. Once a user invests time customizing preferences at a given site, and uploading their contact data, they will tend to use that service to connect with their buddies (and thus incur any communication fees). I think Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN have a head-start here, but they are going to need to catch up to the technical advances of Skype and Google to stay ahead.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: voip


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.