Google Voice and Video are the latest buzzwords in mobile technology circles. Google's new product is designed to offer a free video calling option to its Google Hangouts application and its Google+ social platform. While Google did not provide a timeline for when this offering will arrive, it is clear that Google wants to compete with carriers like Verizon and AT&T who already offer video calling and instant messaging features for their respective phone plans. Now that it appears that Google will indeed launch its video calling service, one wonders if Google will simply open the doors to Android users with this functionality or offer it exclusively to its existing Google Hangouts and Google+ users.
Google Voice and Video will likely take advantage of Google's existing partnerships with providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, which have long provided users with VoIP service. The availability of voice calling to mobile devices via these carriers already shows that Google is serious about this new offering. Google has yet to announce any specific time frame when this feature will be offered to all Google apps, or whether it will be offered separately or integrated into the existing Google Voice and Video app store. With the inclusion of VoIP functionality, Google has shown a keen interest in pursuing this venture but whether the carrier integrations and free video calling are sufficient factors on which to place Google's faith in the offering remains to be seen.
In our view, we are not expecting Google Voice and Video to become a panacea for mobile device users. While we believe that Hangouts and Google+ will eventually offer some sort of unified voice communication experience, Google's decision to launch Google Voice at an affordable price point may put users off jumping on the band wagon of the mobile voice revolution. Google's decision to offer Hangouts as a free tool may also spell the end for Google Hangouts on YouTube, but with YouTube having an additional half dozen video calling options already in place, we feel that Google made the right move in establishing a single platform for all of its messaging community.