Google taking on phone companies and Skype

Google taking on phone companies and SkypeSan Francisco - Not content with dominating the internet, Google is looking to take on the traditional phone companies and Skype by offering a free new phone service that manages your voice communications and allows all your different phones to ring on one number.

The service, called Google Voice, offers free calling throughout the United States and very cheap international rates as low as 2 cents per minute. While the service is expected to poach customers from traditional phone companies it also challenges online phone service Skype, which offers similar rates and already has 400 million registered users, with 350,000 joining each day.

Google based the new project on an existing service called GrandCentral that the company bought a year ago. Google Voice will first become available to existing GrandCentral customers this week and will then roll out to other Google account holders in the coming weeks.

"The new application improves the way you use your phone. You can get transcripts of your voicemail and archive and search all of the SMS text messages you send and receive," said Google product manager Vincent Paquet. The new service provides a single number to ring your home, work and mobile phones, and a central voicemail inbox that you could access on the web, including a transcription of the message. Other features include conference calling, call records and personalized greetings. (dpa)

Business News: 
Technology Update: