Friday 28 October 2016

Trialled in America, Google's answer to Skype still on hold in the European market

Published 13/10/2016 | 02:30

The alternative to Skype is expected to be here within two years
The alternative to Skype is expected to be here within two years
Google Voice

Google still anticipates launching its voice telephony product in Europe "within the next two years", according to the Ireland-based subsidiary that oversees the service.

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Google Voice - an alternative to Skype - has been available in the United States for a number of years, but the rollout in Europe has been delayed by the tech giant's management team.

Google has been saying for the past four years that it would launch its telephony product within two years in Europe.

It originally planned to deploy it in Europe in 2010 then rolled that date back to 2011, and then 2012 before seemingly putting it off indefinitely.

For the planned 2012 launch, it had intended to roll out Google Voice (Lite), which is a voicemail replacement and international calls product.

It also planned to deploy the full version of Google Voice, which as with the US version, would allocate a telephone number to users to make and receive calls, and receive SMS messages.

It was also intended that Google Voice SMB would be launched, which is Google Voice adapted for companies and sold as an additional feature of GoogleApps. Google said in 2011 that it intended trialling the service in Europe the following year.

However, one Google executive had publicly stated that legislative concerns related to telephony services were an issue.

In 2012 the project was put on ice and has remained there ever since.

"Google Voice anticipates launching these products in Europe within the next two years," it notes in the latest set of accounts for the business that have just been filed in Ireland.

"This launch time frame has been extended from prior years as a result of management's decision to delay the launch in the European market," the accounts note.

However, since 2012, Google has said that it intended to launch Google Voice in Europe within the next two years or so.

Google acquired phone management system GrandCentral in 2007 for over $50m and was rebranded as Google Voice in 2009.

Apart from simply being able to make calls from a variety of devices using the system, users can also avail of voicemail, text messaging, conference calling, call screening, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages.

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