Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 21, 2005
Word is that now that Google has purchased a stake in AOL, the two companies will allow their VoIP services’ users to talk to each other.
The end result of that, in my opinion, is two fold. To begin with, this interoperability should give the two companies an advantage over rival Instant Messenger-like VoIP services offered by Skype, MSN and Yahoo. Google, in particular, is likely to benefit: Until now, many Internet users might have hesitated to use Google’s VoIP service for fear that they’d be left out of communications loop since all of their friends used AOL Instant Messenger (IM). Now, they won’t have to worry about that.
Longer term, I believe that this agreement will push all VoIP industry heavyweights to make their IM-like VoIP services interoperable. Remember, years ago, if you were a Verizon Wireless customer, you could only send short text messages (SMS) to other Verizon customers. You couldn’t send an SMS to Cingular customers. That hampered SMS adoption, and so, eventually, all wireless service providers got together and allowed for cross-carrier texting. That led to an explosion in SMS use.
I think that if all IM-like VoIP services reach a similar interoperability agreement, they will reap the same, huge benefits. Perhaps the AOL-Google agreement will show just how much users crave the capability and will hasten this process. Do you agree?