Google Takes on Skype?

The Times of London is running a somewhat bizarre story on Google tonight. It implies that it has inside skinny that Google is prepping to take on Skype in the VoIP business:

GOOGLE revolutionised the internet. Now it is hoping to do the same with our phones. The company behind the US-based internet search engine looks set to launch a free telephone service that links users via a broadband internet connection using a headset and home computer.

The technology that will enable Google to move in on the market has been around for some time. Software by the London-based company, Skype, has been downloaded nearly 54 million times around the world but no large telecommunication firms have properly exploited it.

Interesting, but as the story continues the source becomes somewhat murkier. Instead of being based on insiders at Google, or unnamed analysts, or something like that, the story refers instead to the news that floated through the blogosphere last week that Google was looking to recruit someone to be a “strategic negotiator” in helping the search company build a global backbone network.

The latter could imply the former, but it ain’t necessarily so. There are many reasons Google might be looking for someone to help it build a better backbone network, and taking on Skype is only one of them. While it could happen, it doesn’t make all that much sense to me — and so I have to confess raging puzzlement at how the Times is putting this story in play based on such a flimsy foundation.


  1. Google Free VoIP?

    The net is buzzing today with a story that Google is planning a free VoIP service.

  2. Could be a broadband wireless play, via a franchise model (for unlicensed spectrum) and/or in partnership w/ TV networks (for licensed spectrum)…
    See old Cringely columns for some background…
    Might make a lot of sense, given Yahoo’s deals w/ SBC & Verizon, MSFT & whoever, etc. …

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  4. the amount of brainless guessing over one google job posting has truling been amazing. i would expect any company with so many servers in so many colos to have at least one competent telco negotiator on staff.