Should Skype be scared of Google?

Google today announced they are going to offer free voice calling for users of gMail.  Some media outlets have said this poses a significant threat to Skype.  I’ll confess that was my immediate thought but on reflection I think the news may actually be far worse for carriers such as AT&T.  What Google has done is validate that the concept of free/almost free calling using the Internet is the way forward.  To use their service you need a gMail account.  If you already have an email account from say Yahoo! or Hotmail, then you can of course open a gMail account or simply use Skype…  Given the way Skype works, I can’t see people necessarily switching to using the Google service.  What I can see is some people who still use land lines giving the Google service a try.  I can also see that having competing services from Skype and Google will really a) improve these products and b) force traditional carriers to look at their pricing.  In other words, the people who will likely feel the most pain are the AT&Ts of this world who will inevitably end up having to make drastic cuts to their rates.

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