Thursday, December 22, 2005

Google, AOL & speculation

Sitting here this last week, it seems there was some concern in the web community as to whether Google's purchase of a 5% stake in AOL was a misstep down an ultimately very damaging path. It's pretty well known that most tech savvy people are not fond of AOL (myself included), and that they seem to have a pretty good reputation of bringing the stock down on otherwise attractive companies.

I'm still not sure this was a good move by Google, on whole. It could turn out to be some curse that brings their stock down this year, and it would not surprise me.

However, Google made one blatantly aggressive move in this acquisition that has me extremely excited: they've requested that AOL Instant Messenger become compliant with GTalk. Combine this with the fact that Google has released the API for GTalk this past week, allowing for all sorts of mash ups with the application, and you have a foot hold for a lot of interesting mashups in the most mainstream of all I/M clients. What this means is, when mobile phone manufacturers start releasing their 3G compliant phones this coming year, we'll have mashups with the GTalk API that will allow us to use the wireless internet to make free calls on our cell phones, and not utilize any of our cell phone carrier minutes (i.e. Sprint Nextel, Cingular, etc).

This is very cool, and Google deserves a lot of credit for pushing this through. I think for Google, next year, GTalk will become they're killer application. Ideally, you should be able to connect from your cell phone, to any AIM or Gtalk client in the world, for free. Once that reaches the tipping point, you can be sure that the telecoms will slowly start to matter less and less. Will the FCC start to regulate VOIP and the internet? Let's hope not!

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