Google announced today that this free calling from the U.S. to anywhere in the States and Canada would be extended through all of 2011! (Back in August, it said it wouldn’t charge for those calls “for at least the rest of the year”-Liz Gannes “All Things Digital”)
2010 was a good year for Google and Android. Besides the fact that the media coverage seemed more pro-Android than Apple ( iPhone4 Antenna problems, Apples lack of variety ( the white version was not even launched) , and the constant push that Apple is not closed) they did get amazing growth and start to become the dominant player in the Smartphone market in North America. We started to see even Android Devices being given away for Free with basic data plans making it clear that in 2011 Android will eat quickly into the feature phone market and continue in that dominance mode as just the smartphone being the status-quo.
So to add some nice icing to the cake, not only did they use the momentum to thier advantage with the Google-to-Google Free talk services as in Skype-to-Skype calls for Free, but they just make a defining blow to the Carriers by now offering a Google-to-Land line Free service. This has in someways even has trumped Skype that has offered a low-cost service, but not completely free. Skype charges pennies.minute for this service that makes it cheap and addictive to end-users ( including myself that has been enjoying and using it over the years).
In my mind this is a big Wow. Make the Operating System Free, Make the Calls all Free, Make all their content and services Free, make the Wifi Networks Free and focus on building up local advertising and targeting. Google did have some great patents in the Pay-per-Call for merchants, so with this Free service of users calling shops and making reservations is even more incentivised when Free…
With their power and position making everything Free is definitely a disrupter to this market where competition between companies is difficult without the economies of scale of Google and their Ad network network as well. It is going to be interesting to see how Carriers respond to this when more and more users are leveraging Wifi for their data connections and calling as well.