Why Google Is Not Doing VoIP

A lot of speculation about Google’s move into VoIP has started because of a job listing which was first reported by Phil Harvey over at Light Reading, and then mis-interperted as a possible move into VoIP by everyone and some incorrect assessments made by pundits. The first reason, why Google is not doing VoIP: how the hell do you monetize something like this. Since Google’s business model revolves around embedding text-ads in pretty much everything, it doesn’t make sense for them to even indulge in VoIP. Julian Hewitt of Ovum thinks there is a possible model, but seems to me like a bit of a stretch.

“‘This would be an obvious development for the world’s leading search engine. Millions have downloaded the ‘Google toolbar’, so why not a VoIP client too? The appeal for Google is obvious: search for something, then ‘click here’ if you’d like to speak to the company that’s selling what you’re looking for. Google then collects a fee from the ’sponsor’ for each voice connection. Voice calls with very little cost AND funded by advertising,” he said in a research note.

Thank God, Google was quick to dismiss this notion. I suspect that people are reading too much into Google’s job listing, which in my opinion has a very simple explanation. Google is growing, and it is adding data center capacity pretty much all across the planet. (Because it wants to be the Internet OS!) Europe, Asia and US and it needs to link these together with a dedicated backbone, like most smart companies do. In order to do that, they have to build a global virtual network. In other words, they have to find the best pipes at the lowest possible rates from hundreds of carriers, and assess that they will not go out of business, and will be able to meet the future demand. Now that’s the real reason, it needs a chief negotiator. It’s about the infrastructure stupid.