Internet search engine Google is taking on the phone companies and web calling service Skype.
It has added the ability to directly call landlines and mobile phones to its email facility.
It is not anticipated that Google will make much profit from this, but the technology magazine Wired suggests it is another move by Google to take on Facebook and therefore make more money from advertising.
euronews internet expert Marie Jamet said this further expansion does make Google more like Microsoft:
“This puts Google into direct competition with Skype and it’s the latest in a long series of new applications aimed at making people’s lives easier, but that have also made Google much bigger. When it started Google was seen as small, independent, cool. But now they beginning to look a lot more like the giant companies they used to “love to hate” and that could chip away at Google’s popularity, with people finding the company too big and not really independent.”
Google’s phone service is likely be the biggest competitive threat to Skype – which has long allowed consumers to make calls from computers to phones – rather than to the traditional phone companies as they have already cut prices in response to stiff competition.
Skype, which is owned by private equity firms and eBay, is planning an 80 million euro initial public offering of shares.