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Summary:

In my Business 2.0 story, Google Net, I outlined the how’s and why’s of Google’s dark fiber & WiFi plans, and in the accompanying graphic highlighted some of the “bandwidth hungry applications” the company may have on deck. On of them was Voice. I wrote Google […]

In my Business 2.0 story, Google Net, I outlined the how’s and why’s of Google’s dark fiber & WiFi plans, and in the accompanying graphic highlighted some of the “bandwidth hungry applications” the company may have on deck. On of them was Voice. I wrote Google could “use VOIP technology to dial phone numbers that appear in local search results.”

Since the story first made the rounds, a few new developments. Google released Google Talk, its voice-enabled IM client based on Jabber platform. And earlier this week there was news that Google was experimenting with selling offline ads. Yannick Laclau, discovered something interesting in an article about AHS systems, the company featured in the Google experimental ads.

“It’s a lot of exposure for cheap,” he said, adding that Google is “doing a ton of tracking on this. They’re using their own 1-800 numbers on this, and it forwards to our line.” The Internet addresses of the online versions of the ads also redirect traffic through Google servers.

As I hinted earlier, this is a pay-per-call model that could be the “VoIP” play for Google. A lot of start-ups have already started mucking around with it. The leader in this space is Ingenio, which has a deal with AOL. The pay-per-call results typically make more money for sites that use pay-per-call model, and this includes various publications and portals. Another start-up that has jumped into the fray is Insider Pages, an Idea Lab company. Jupiter’s Gary Stein has some thoughts on this trend, as he tries to come-up with reasons for why Microsoft bought Teleo.

We know that local merchants would rather pay for a call than a click; having pay-per-call as a product is pretty much a must for anyone looking to get into the local directory business.

I guess, as Voice-over-IM tries to find its footing, the first application that becomes popular is this “pay for call” feature. Yannick sums it up nicely when he writes:

So could all the talk about Google’s VoIP plans really be all about extending its advertising franchise into pay-per-call, rather than offering plain old consumer minutes, a la everyone else?

An obvious, simple and practical observation!

PS: folks – this will be a constantly updated post. I am still thinking about this a bit more. If you have any thoughts, do let me know.

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  1. an easy extension (via XMPP or SIP) is to open up a secure multi-media link w./ the end user as/when they click on the ad and “talk live” – the call can now be subsidized by the ad-providers — sorta 1-GOOGLE-vendor where GOOG is a stand-in for 1-800 prefix…. and perhaps the premium-ad buyers can subsidize your VoIP to PSTN calling if you click on their ad — i.e. they give me an instant PIN usable for 60 minutes if i see their ad… it could be a very google-twist on call-in, call-out PSTN issue.

    -r

  2. Google’s Print Foray

    Part of what makes Google such a fascinating company is trying to figure out where it goes beyond search. In the wake of Google Talk’s launch, there’s news Google is moving into print advertising by buying full-page magazine ads and slicing them up i…

  3. VoIP Blog – Rich Tehrani Thursday, September 1, 2005

    Google’s True VoIP Intentions

    Today I was reading an article about Google getting into the print magazine advertising business via it’s AdWords program. The print program is similar to the way ads work online except in print an advertiser gets a photo and a…

  4. At SES this year, Verizon Superpages already announced what Google may be contemplating. Here’s the release:
    http://newscenter.verizon.com/proactive/newsroom/release.vtml?id=92789

    Very clever and payments occur when potential customers make calls to merchants.

    NC

  5. “If you have any thoughts, do let me know.”

    It’s all about observation and analytics. Having been involved deeply in analytics and close to Net Perceptions and their “Recommendation Engine” during my tenure at Vignette (which we OEM’ed and Amazon used for “People that have bought this book have also bought these ones.” We all know that Amazon has kept all their clickstream data and has petabytes of collected data on shopping behavior, purchases and — with their API exposed — to 3rd parties leveraging that data in new ways.

    Gmail, Google Maps, search history identified to a specific individual, blogging and now IM & talk, imagine the data being captured that can be matched with location awareness (i.e., IP address database matching) and it becomes pretty clear: Google is building an analytics platform that eventually will know more about me and my habits than I know myself.

    More on my recent post sparked by Google Talk’s debut: http://borsch.typepad.com/ctd/2005/08/voice_will_be_f.html

  6. URL didn’t post correctly so here it is again: http://borsch.typepad.com/ctd/2005/08/voice_will_be_f.html

  7. Sorry Om…WordPress doesn’t seem to like my URL underscores.

    The name of the post referred to is: Voice will be free and will converge with data (which will not be free)

  8. I don’t buy into any connection between gtalk and pay-per-call (or click-to-call): click-to-call just requires client infrastructure (lessee – AIM, Yahoo, MSN, skype, any old voip client) – there is no reason to try home-cook this functionality as and of itself. I think it is just two goog projects having points of convergence.

  9. Thank you for the post. The magnitude of this is mind bending. Fewer ads all over the place but more effective ads all over the place. I can’t see Googles VoIP getting past the Skype, Gizmo, etc. model of 2 cents per minute to call out. However, with more and more wireless handhelds the number of calls to “phones” will drop dramatically. Who needs a phone connected to the old system? Sure dual band cell phones will be common but land lines are dead.

  10. It seems pay-per-call are the immediate plans. There have been hints Google maybe getting into the cell phone game as well with the increasing potential of VoIP and WiMAX. Whether these two have any convergence is something that may be interesting to consider.

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