Twitter's legal director, Nicole Wong, is being considered by the White House as a senior privacy adviser to chief technology officer Todd Park, the New York Times reported.
21/08/2012 - KeKu Celebrates 500,000 Users With Group Calling App
21/08/2012 - Imo Pairs VoIP Capabilities With Its IM App
07/08/2012 - Obi202 VoIP Adapter Allows for Free Local Calls
04/08/2012 - Users Complain of Spotty Google Talk Services
28/06/2012 - TeliaSonera to charge for VoIP
Swedish telecommunications firm TeliaSonera AB (OMX: TLSN) plans to introduce charges for calls on services like Skype and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Talk. The company reportedly has already begun a trial with one of its Spanish subsidiaries.
"We plan to provide more exact details about these plans towards the end of the summer, sometime in August," said Anna Augustson, a spokesperson at TeliaSonera, according to a GigaOm report.
She added, current TeliaSonera subscribers, who today are able to use VoIP services without having to pay extra, won't be subject to any additional charges until their current contracts with TeliaSonera expire.
The plans to introduce special charges for VoIP services come as internet calls are threatening to replace traditional voice calls that still account for a lion's share of operators' revenue.
The company is also set to launch an own VoIP service.
- see GigaOm's coverage
The founder of GrandCentral--which eventually became Google Voice--apparently is back in his old stomping grounds. Craig Walker, who sold the VoIP technology to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for some $50 million back in 2007 recently tweeted that he was "Starting to play around with a bunch of VoIP ideas...time to take this incubator thing into hyperdrive :)."
Walker, who ended up working for Google, then Google Ventures, founded incubator Firespotter Labs--which is funded by Google Ventures and includes several of his Grand Central team members--last May.
As TechCrunch asks: "Is Walker developing Grand Central 2.0?"
- see this TechCrunch article
Google looks to play in Skype's space
Google to release enterprise Voice in 2010
Google Voice tests call recording
Here we go again: Google's gonna be your VoIP provider?
Google VoIP offering makes 1 million calls in first 24 hours
Kineto Wireless has rolled out a "Smart VoIP" app that allows mobile operators to offer an over-the-top voice service through their existing network infrastructure.
Kineto's Smart VoIP application supports a range of standard mobile telephony capabilities and is designed to run on major mobile operating systems, including Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android and Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Mobile. The application can be branded by mobile operators and downloaded to subscribers through standard application stores.
Kineto said it Smart VoIP solution is designed specifically for mobile operators to address the growing threat from third-party OTT voice services like Skype and Google Voice.
"Our Smart VoIP application helps operators create and brand their own over-the-top service to meet subscriber demands for mobile VoIP," said Steve Shaw, vice president of marketing for Kineto.
There's a strong demand for the service. Research firm NPD In-Stat said revenues associated with mobile VoIP usage will increase to more than $4 billion in 2015, with the largest concentration of mobile VoIP users coming from Western Europe.
Operators who ignore the opportunity are opening themselves up to competition from multiple sources, said Dean Bubley, founder of analyst firm Disruptive Analysis.
"Telecom operators need to launch their own over-the-top VoIP services, to compete effectively with Internet innovators and to complement their traditional ‘on-net' offerings," Bubley said.
Kineto Wireless gets $15M
App lets you call, text Facebook, LinkedIn contacts without phone number
Skype: We never said we'll be the cheapest
Skype makes deal to acquire startup GroupMe
Fring adds live group video chat to VoIP call menu
Some 3,700 technology firms worldwide were acquired for nearly $219 billion during 2011, as spending to acquire tech companies increased 17 percent from the previous year, and a new study said that pace is likely to pick up in 2012.
The study, from 451 Research, said several multi-billion dollar deals like those from Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ) Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) may have made the most news but pointed out that there were 3,687 more deals in 2011 for information technology, telecommunications and Internet companies--a 13 percent bump from 2010-- increasing M&A spending for the second year in a row, the most M&A activity since 2006.
"The fact that deal-makers managed to generate an increase in spending last year is remarkable given the turmoil that has shaken the financial markets since summer," said Brenon Daly, research director for M&A at 451 Research. Daly noted that just two of the 10 largest deals of 2011 came in the final four months of the year, when concerns about Europe's debt crisis reached their highest point.
The report found that U.S. buyers increased cash outlays for international targets substantially; spending on non-North American targets increased 48 percent year-over-year while the number of deals increased 28 percent.
Private equity firms, meanwhile, sat on the sidelines and did little to contribute to the spending increase. Their total outlays increased only seven percent from the prior-year level, accounting for 14 percent of the past year's tech spending. 451 said that for the first time since 2008, there wasn't a single private equity transaction among the 10 largest deals of 2011.
Among the significant transactions of 2011:
- Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility.
- SAP spent $3.65 billion to acquire human capital management software vendor SuccessFactors.
- Hewlett-Packard paid a startlingly high premium, $11.7 billion, for British information management vendor Autonomy.
- Texas Instruments paid $6.5 billion for National Instruments, the largest semiconductor deal yet by a strategic buyer.
- Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype.
- And a tech consortium purchased Nortel patents for $4.5 billion.
- see this release
16/12/2011 - Yowie Adds Group Video Chat to Its Platform
The roll out of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Apps by the Los Angeles Police Department has hit some bumps as the PD raises concerns about Google not addressing security issues it had with the email system.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Apps software has faced more than two months worth of concerns about security and delays in installing the platform, which beat out competitor Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) for a deal with the city two years ago.
Google Apps offers businesses and governments cloud-based email and document and video sharing technologies. Governments see the platform as an opportunity to scale to meet demand more easily and as a major cost savings tool.
But the problems in L.A. are raising concerns that the suite may not be ready for use by large organizations. It has, however, been successfully deployed elsewhere; Wyoming, for example this summer adopted Google Apps for its 10,000 employees, and the federal General Services Administration said it took its 17,000 employees to Google Apps for Government in July, the culmination of a $6.7 million project.
Google sees the product as a big money maker.
- see this Wall Street Journal article
Report: e-Government savings to top $114B worldwide by 2016
Fed's General Services Administration transitions to the cloud with Google Apps
State of Wyoming opts for Google apps for entire government
15/08/2011 - Google buys Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is buying Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) for $12.5 billion, the company announced today, saying the two companies had entered into a definitive agreement and that both boards already had approved the deal.
Motorola Mobility shareholders will get $40 per share, a 63 percent premium on the share's closing price Friday.
The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, already a dedicated Android partner, will help Google compete in the mobile computing market, Google CEO Larry Page said during a coference call this morning. He said the company will maintain Android as an open platform.
"Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open," he said. "We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android's success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences."
Page called the two a "natural fit.
"Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers," he said.
Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, said the relationshp between the two companies has been a strong one.
"We committed to Android in 2008 and the results speak for themselves," he said during the call. "This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility's stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world. We have shared a productive partnership with Google to advance the Android platform, and now through this combination we will be able to do even more to innovate and deliver outstanding mobility solutions across our mobile devices and home businesses."
Page also said the deal will help Google push innovation in the home devices and video solutions business, and also talked about how acquiring Motorola Mobility would strengthen its patent portfolio.
"We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android," Page said. "The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to ‘protect competition and innovation in the open source software community' and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction.
"Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."
11/08/2011 - Skype: We never said we'll be the cheapest
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has extended its Google Voice calling plan and lowered the fees for international calls, as has Vonage (NYSE: VG), with its new iPhone "Time to Call" app that allows 15-minute calls to 100 countries for less than $5. And Skype?
The company, which makes a fair share of its cash from international calls, said it has no plans to lower its rates despite the competition.
"We've never said we'll be the cheapest," said Neil Stevens, Skype's vice president and general manager of products and marketing.
The company said it's seeing more calls placed via its one to three-month subscription plans, which cost $3 to $14 per month, and said its Skype Premium plan, which includes unlimited U.S. and Canada calls, are enough to hold onto customers.
"Google is certainly a competitor but it's not that different from the other competitors we've had over the years, such as telcos and cable companies," says Stevens.
- see this Forbes article
Skype for Apple's iPad is officially available... again
Another Skype security flaw in latest Facebook integration reported
In video chat battle, Google+ has an edge on Facebook... for now
13/09/2010 - Skype vs. Google Prizefight
CNet has a side-by-side comparison of Google VoIP and Skype plus a video of the match up. Article
26/08/2010 - Google Introduces Gmail Call
19/08/2010 - Frost & Sullivan: Google moving into UCC
Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) seemingly haphazard approach to software development and company acquisitions often has people wondering what exactly their goal is. Frost & Sullivan has been monitoring the latest moves and acquisitions from the Internet giant and they've come to the conclusion that it's only a matter of time before they are truly a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) player.
A new F&S research report titled, "Google's Enterprise Universe: Google Storms the Unified Communications and Collaboration Market," projects that Google will be the next big UCC competitor. Google's cloud-based Apps and business Gmail offerings are one start to their strategy, but it's acquisitions point to even more of a UCC play. Google has, over the last few years, acquired videoconferencing vendor Marratech, VoIP vendor GrandCentral and Skype competitor Gizmo5 to build up its Google Voice offering--which is believed to be launching as an enterprise solution soon.
Not too long ago FierceVoIP ran a piece on Google's UC rise as well. Similar title too: The rise of Google's enterprise empire. Feels good to be on the right track.
- read the article at Phone+
09/08/2010 - Google Voice transcripts offer miscommunications
One of the coolest promises of Google Voice and probably any future unified communication (UC) suite is the voice-to-text voicemail transcription feature. Probably the major reason other UC offerings do not employ this wiz-bang technology is that the software still leaves much to be desired.
PCWorld has an interesting investigative article into the world of Google Voice transcription with comparisons of actual messages to their robot-transcribed counterparts. The service grays-out words it is unsure of and tries hard to fill in blanks, but often the results are not helpful. As the user noted, the grayed out text was a good indication but so was the fact that a sentence was made of complete gibberish. The tester found that even when the same messages were left, the system transcribed them differently each time.
Sometimes, some semblance of meaning could be gleaned from the transcribed messages--like when the service caught the word barbecue, helping the writer realize he was being invited to one--but often it was necessary for the user to listen to their voicemails still.
The day when all our communications can be siphoned right into our Gmail are still out on the horizon somewhere.
- read the report
Irwin Lazar over at Nemertes Research did an annual research benchmark polling 200 companies about the technology they use and found some interesting stats about cloud based services and Google specifically. For all our talk about Google's future enterprise play, it looks like it might take longer for the company to become a serious player in that respect.
The research firm found that about 50.2 percent of companies polled had reservations about using Google as a vendor. Concerns ranged from storing data in the Google cloud, the suspicion that it might get indexed by a search engines, to the company's lack of a robust customer support arm.
Surely, Google's office-in-the-sky applications combined with Google Voice and the hints of the Google Voice softphone are compelling reasons to consider Google as a vendor, but the concerns of this poll surely offer some legitimate barriers for Google to overcome. Entrenched UC vendors have built up customer trust and can still charge them for it where Google might offer services for free with less safety.
No Jitter has a good round-up discussion of the lead up to the Google Voice launch. They were wondering what Google's next moves would be. Check it out here.
24/06/2010 - Google Voice: Now for everyone
The wait is over! Those of you who haven't been able to get a Google Voice account are in luck. Google has opened the gates and now the web-based Google Voice communications management platform is open to the public.
Google Voice offers a single phone number that can ring on all of a user's phones, voice mail that can be sent to email as sound or text as well as the ability to listen in to a caller's voice message while they are leaving it. The public release has some businesses excited to use the features, although at the moment it would mean adopting new Google Voice phone numbers.
The services was previously invite only like many of Google's test products. With its resent purchase of Gizmo5, we can only hope more VoIP-style features will be added as membership to the service grows.
24/06/2010 - Video: Intro to Google Voice
Google Voice is now open to everyone. Here we have posted a video intro provided by Google.
21/02/2010 - GVMax fills in the gaps for Google Voice
A few weeks ago, Google launched an app that mobile phone users could take advantage of, but the problem was it was a mobile web app and not a native phone app. Some of the functionality that Google Voice users love like SMS notifications haven't been carried along to the mobile web app so other developers have stepped in to fill the void. Enter GVMax, a free web service that monitors your Google Voice account and notifies you when you receive a new SMS or voicemail.
The work around uses Google Voice's SMS-to-email functionality using it to send the forwards to GVMax's servers which are then rerouted to the various ways a user wishes to be notified. When you recieve a new voicemail or SMS, the GVMax system can send you an IM, an SMS, an email or even a message on your Twitter account. The service not only fills in a functionality gap, but it also replaces a more cumbersome hack some user were employing involving having the notifications forward to an always-on home computer running a desktop app that would then pass on the notifications to users' mobile phones.
- read this blog post
Google Voice for iPhone finally released--as a web app
Google Voice adds pseudo-mobile number portability
Gizmo5 migrating PSTN numbers to Google Voice soon
Google Voice app pulled from iPhone App Store
11/02/2010 - Google's Buzz a UC play?
Google just launched a new collaborative tool called Buzz that serves to challenge Twitter, Facebook and possibly...unified communications and collaboration tools? Perhaps, posits PCWorld writer Tony Bradley. With GMail's features including email, text chat, video and voice talk, and now collaboration with Buzz, the suite of tools could be seen as a challenge to UC offerings from big league players like Cisco and Microsoft.
Just a few days ago Google revealed that it would be launching an enterprise version of Google Voice through its Apps suite for businesses. Combine that offering with the mythic Google VoIP, the new collaborative features of Buzz, the virtually unlimited inbox of Gmail, and Google's video chat features and you have many of the same features of UC packages. Bradley's article points out that the main thing holding back Google's UC suite is the lack of international VoIP support, but I am sure with the acquisition of Gizmo5 those details should be worked out soon--perhaps with the launch of Google Voice for enterprises.
- read the article
Google to release enterprise Voice in 2010
Google VoIP phone speculation already?
Rumor Mill: Google's gPhone is back but it might be VoIP-based
Gizmo5 migrating PSTN numbers to Google Voice soon
2010: The Year of Google VoIP?
22/01/2010 - Truphone Brings Wi-Fi Calling to Nexus One
07/01/2010 - CES: Ooma adds Pure Voice, HD and Google Voice
Ooma has announced new upgrades to their Ooma Telo service at CES this week. The new additions include Ooma Pure Voice, HD Voice, iPhone and iPod Touch calling, Bluetooth, Google Voice support and voicemail transcription.
Ooma Pure Voice insures that call quality is maintained even over congested home networks where family members are also streaming video or downloading large files. Google Voice users can now bring the Call Presentation, Listen In, and caller-ID features of Google Voice into with their Ooma system. Google Voice voicemail has also now been integrated. Interestingly, it seems the voicemail transcription is not just for Google Voice users as the release says all Ooma customers can use it.
- read the release