Google's just plopped some $68 million dollars on the table to buy up Global IP Solutions, a company that sells voice and video IP conferencing gear. Is this a sign Google's revving up Voice or even its TV products to rival Skype and Apple?
Google's been a customer of GIS for some time, along with other huge tech players like Samsung, Nortel, AOL, and Yahoo (the technology powers the systems running Yahoo Messenger). GIS also recently revealed it's working on tech to make life easier for Android app writers keen to put voice and video chat into their apps.
At this point many things are unclear about the future of the deal, and GIS's role inside Google...but we can make some educated guesses. We know Google has to impress over 90% of GIS's current stock holders, although about 40% of the owners have already indicated their approval (due to potential financial benefits). And GIS has stated that it will continue to support its existing customers--indicating Google doesn't seem to have plans to cut off the supply of GIS tech to anyone. Less clear is what GIS will do for Google.
So let's think: Google is already rattling the telecoms establishment with its Voice system, a VoIP system that tackles person-person communications in a way alien to the existing fixed and mobile cellphone networks. Tech designed to boost Voice's powers would seem like a good investment, right at the moment that Android devices seem to be grabbing big market share. Meanwhile Apple's next-gen iPhone, due for arrival sometime over the next five to six weeks, appears to have a front-facing camera. And there are rumors Apple's beefing up its iChat system to enable voice and video conference calling. The camera may also be usable for 3G video calls over cellphone networks, and it may be accessible by other apps like Skype for video calling over VoIP. So, Google may also be planning on boosting its tech to take on Apple, and the mighty Skype itself.
And thinking of Skype, with recent rumors concerning Google's intention to move into the Net-connected TV space, a Google TV with built-in VoIP for voice and video solutions would certainly be attractive to many modern families. GIS's tech expertise may well play into Google's plans for this market too.