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.