Google is offering click to call service to its Indian users. VoIP Inc. emailed us and let us know that they are partnering with Google on this new rollout.
The click-to-call service is no different from a similar service that the search giant started offering in the US in November 2006. Since then there was talk that the service was pulled due to prank callers, but it seems to still work in some cases.
Regardless, the wisdom of click to call features in India doesn’t make much sense, given the low PC density in that nation. If they are offering such features on their mobile version, it would make a lot of sense. Mobile phones are a more viable platform for offering new services in India.
Interestingly, the Indian government announced a ban today on Skype and other VoIP services such as Net2Phone. The government warned call centers and said they will face harsh penalties if they continue to use such VoIP services. Call center operators will have to furnish the names of carriers from whom they are buying bandwidth and VoIP minutes. The Indiatimes says:
The companies will also have to give an undertaking that they will not use the services of unlicensed foreign service providers such as Net2Phone, Vonage, Dialpad, Impetus, Novanet, Euros, Skype and Yahoo. As per Department of Telecommunications’ (DOT) estimates, these unlicensed service companies provide 30 million minutes of internet telephony per month to corporates, call centres and BPOs in the country.
For a country which views itself as part of Planet Technology, its government is failing to take into account the changing telecom and technology environment. These moves to ban low cost voice providers must have come at the behest of large phone companies – Bharti Telecom and Reliance Telecom – which are major long distance minute providers and of course, some of the biggest political donors.