On the huge news today of Google allowing for voice calls from Gmail, the immediate target in the Google crosshairs has to be none other than Skype. In fact, the target is so well laid that Google went so far as to provide a comparison chart of pricing to an unnamed “leading internet telephony provider”:
The problem, of course, isn’t with the money. The problem is with the users.
By The Numbers
We’ve talked before about Google’s slow roll out times on services. With today’s launch, we’re also told that once again US users will have the Google Calls service before the rest of the world.
While Gmail might very well be pushing 200 million users worldwide, that’s a far cry even by itself from Skype’s 590 million. And even that is not bearing in mind that only a percentage of Gmail’s 200 million can even use the service.
The Struggle With Anonymity
It may seem a strange thing, but I rather like the somewhat-anonymous quality of Skype. I can easily create a throw-away account, not having to worry about anything being related to it because of some internal structure. Doing that with Gmail is another story.
There’s also the issue of Google calls using my Google Voice number for outbound calls. Though that number is publicly available all over the Internet, part of the reason that I prefer Skype at present is because I can still stay behind my somewhat-impenetrable wall of a 2nd account without anyone knowing who is attached to it.
I use my Google Voice account for business, but I don’t always talk to people over Skype with whom I’d be comfortable giving my phone number. For me, though it’s not a major issue with Google calls, it is still a concern.
The Matter of Convenience
What Google does have going for it, however, is unmatched convenience. Essentially, where ever I feel comfortable logging into my Gmail account, I’ll be able to make a Google call. There is no need to download and set up Skype. That’s a welcome convenience for certain.
So what about you? Is it a game-changer, or an also-ran?