Sunday morning the new Gizmo5/Google Voice mashup debuted. Out in beta, it lets you make a phone call, via Wifi/Gizmo5, using your Google Voice account. This new capability is in addition to Google Voice’s existing ability to route an incoming call to your Gizmo5 account. In the US, that means that starting now, if you are a user of both these services, then all of calls, if made or received on a PC or a handset running a WiFi SIP client, whether long distance or local, cost nothing. Outside the US, it means that they’re at least really really cheap. Andy Abramson pointed me to it, and truth be told, for a guy like Andy this is huge.
Setting up the link is simple. Visit the Gizmo5 settings page, select “Use for all calls”, or “Use for U.S. calls only” in the dashboard page, and you’re done.
On the Google Voice side, simply add a new “Gizmo” phone.
I tried it out with Andy on Sunday morning.
Calls made to my Google Voice number rang through on the existing mobile and fixed line handsets that I have, as well as on the Gizmo5 client on my PC and on the Gizmo 5 client on my Nokia N-series handsets.
I have no credit in my Gizmo5 account at the moment, and only $.10 credit in my Google Voice account on Sunday morning. However, calls made via Gizmo5 to US destinations rang through on the US destinations with no trouble, transported by Google Voice.
Calls made with the iSip client on iPhone rang through Gizmo then Google Voice and on to their final destination. Again, no charge.
It worked perfectly, and were I living in the United States, it would be absolutely free phone service – a free dial in number, free long distance, free voice mail, free call screening and so on. Outside the US it’s still useful and very competitive. Google Voice’s long distance rates are in many cases slightly better than even Gizmo’s, so it represents a savings to the customer. More to the point, however, in this increasingly flat world, it is an opportunity for any individual or business to be reachable from North America at no cost.
Once again, Gizmo5 owner and maverick Michael Robertson is turning accepted business models upside down. In allying with Google he is providing undeniable customer benefit. However, it’s at the expense of nearly all of Gizmo5’s revenue generating services such as long distance and call-in numbers, which are now provided at no charge by Google. We’ll have to wait and see what he does next.