Jan 30, 2006

JabPhone - GoogleTalk 'SkypeOut'

Most people know of Skype and the SkypeOut/SkypeIn services allowing you to phone PSTN numbers and receive calls from PSTN numbers. I, for one, have made quite a lot of use of SkypeOut. When GoogleTalk was released (in beta) last year I tried it out, and felt that the voice quality outclassed skype, but it had no SkypeOut facility, so I was not sure how far it could go. But, being Google, I assumed it would get there soon enough.

Well, it turns out that the Jabber software foundation (which made the jabber protocol Google Talk uses) has created a JabPhone site that is basically a SkypeOut service, with the first 15 minutes free. It started just last week, and has already suffered from problems with overload, but they are getting there. I think the fact that GoogleTalk is based on a free and open standard like Jabber, is an excellent thing, and should easily lead to them providing serious competition to Skype. Skype has a massive lead, but perhaps they will start looking over their shoulders for some new competition from the open-protocol camp.

Amanzi Wiki

Contrary to an implication in an earlier posting, I have been updating my Wiki, mostly with news about VoIP that I find interesting to myself. Take a look at http://wiki.amanzi.com.


I found an interesting blog on VoIP and 911, by Richard Edge. He points out that the FCC ruling has a description of a VoIP provider that clearly includes Skype, implying that the FCC 911 ruling should also apply to Skype, and that the other VoIP vendors might take action against Skype for not complying. However, a more recent blog by Richard also includes the comment that 911 only needs to apply if the service can 'Provide, or enable use of, traditional CPE or CPE that, like traditional CPE, is always on and has dial tone'. Since Skype is clearly a service that is only one when the user wants it to be (switches on their computer and runs the skype client) it might be exempt from 911. I personally think that this is the reason why Skype has never gone the ATA route, and only targets people actually running/using PC's. As soon as they provide a Skype phone that does not need to connect to a PC (ie. runs the client on the phone, and connects with Wifi, for example), they would open themselves to possible 911 hassles (and other regulatory hassles).