14 thoughts on “Marry Google Maps & Google Talk”

  1. Hey Om,

    I can easily see doing this. And I would if I wasn’t worried about the FCC’s rules for “Connected VoIP Services.” Then again maybe I will and will then just “take my chances…”

  2. This is simply analogous to the talk that has been around ever since the ebay/Skype combination where-in the potential buyer can just call the seller at the click of a button.

    We can see this happen not just on Google sites but also on Yahoo, MSN and AOL. It does make sense. This kind of service will soon take us back to the voice based CSRs (customer service reps.) unlike the online-chat CSR service which some of us were just getting used to. Once the concept and the technology matures then no more chat applet windows on the site, only voip windows on sites.

    Although there’s one thing that we may just have to be aware here though, the voice-based CSRs have to be more formal than the online-chat-based CSRs and can only converse with one person at a time as we are used to today on the regular phone. While the online-chat-based CSRs can chat with multiple customers mybe with a little bit of time lag. So my point is if the VOIP chat saves a businesses only those $$ that they are now paying the telecoms then this may not be such an attractive feature especially to a small business since they need to have more CSRs during business hours or 24 X 7 ?

  3. Absolutely, communications is becoming almost omnipresent, everywhere you have a contact or person, you’ll have click to call.

    Wherever you get radio or a wire and internet, you get instant communication.

  4. . . . isnt this the “supposed” reason eBay bought Skype? to marry e-commerce with voice?

    Mapping is great/neccessary for certain set of verticals (housing for one) but it is only a subset of the many types of information retrieval and presentation paradigms out there . . . ie there is broad use cases beyond mapping related products/services where voice and commerce can be integrated to create incremental value for buyers and sellers.

  5. I think we can all take it that customer service functionality will be provided through multi-modal (i.e. voice, sms, mail, IM etc.). If you take “google map” functionality “where you are” and “where the other person is” can be very valuable; i.e. how long would it take to get here? However, how will anyone make money when access to the input resources are low or next to nothing? I think one part of this answer has to be based on “managing virtual assets” such as “My-Trust-Rating”, “My Identity”, etc. etc. Interesting conversation etc. I’m reminded of a McKinsey Artcile by John Hagel from a few years ago when he predicted that customers will offer up bits of data about themselves in an economic exchange, and that train of thought pans out if you follow the “My Identity” stream of thought…

  6. Sorry for the delayed rsponse. Busy with the Diwali things. 🙂

    As to Venkatesh’s suggestion, what GTalk and for that matter what other IM clients have to do is simply register with the browser application as a helper application for “Internet call”. Then any “callto” link will establish a call using that application. This is what Skype has done and it is routine for email clients and HTML editors to do. I am not sure why it has not happened.

    This brings to my open question about eBay purchase of Skype: if eBay had pushed for this simple addition, then it would have covered many more subscribers. Now they are forced to convince all of their subscribers to sign up for Skype. But then what do I know about business.

    This does not address Jeff’s concern about PSTN connectivity. Supposing it is provided by third parties, selected by the owner of the link. Then for legal purposes, it is really PC-to-PC call. Instead of voice going over the headset, it is going over PSTN line. Is it too esoteric an argument?

  7. Thought I’d make a short comment about implementations of this.

    Voice enabling a web browser can be done in several ways. First you need to think about the platform service type (i.e. what protocols are going to be used). You can use something like the Skype API or you could use a SIP based service like SIPPhone et. al.

    Second, you need to think about how the linking is actually done. Web browsers don’t do audio very well. They can barely play audio and cannot capture from a microphone. The only real option is to use some sort of external thing to handle the signaling and media. You can fire off a full blown client as has been mentioned, e.g. GoogleTalk. Another alternative is to do it with plugins. For example, for Windows, you can do a quick little ActiveX control that exports access to the RTC API. Under Linux, you would do something similar with Java. You can then use Javascript to drive the plugin.

    The first approach is easy but is probably fairly heavyweight. The second approach is more nimble and fits more with the AJAX way of doing things these days (although its more SPA than AJAX).

  8. Om,
    If i were google, I wouldn’t be adding just a http://call kind of tag. Advertisers aswell as google would like to know where the call originated , route the call, have status of the icon change according to the availability of CSR’s etc. Some of this stuff is allready done by different , for example using SKYPE Webpresence, but google is uniquely positioned to monetise this offering. Ingenio has a related offering .http://www.ingenio.com/

  9. in the context of placing a link on a map for people to place voip calls….it would seem 95% of the time there will be no answer, since people will get tired of getting 3am crank calls and simply turn off their ringers (like me). and then we will be using voicemail, which to me is vastly inferior to email.

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