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How Gizmo5 is both good and bad for Google

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Joel Saget/AFP

(Read caption) Gizmo5 will be rolled into Google Voice, to create a very interesting alternative to normal home phone service.

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Gizmo5 stands as one of Google's more interesting recent acquisitions.

Hungry Google has marched down the tech sector buffet line, ladling several delicious services onto its plate. The $750 million AdMob deal will extend the giant's reach into mobile-phone advertising. ReCAPTCHA will aid security and its digital book project. On2 could help video encoding.

But Gizmo5 seems most like a boon for us users. The online calling service – very similar to Skype – lets people ditch phone companies and make calls through the Internet.

Google plans to roll the service into Google Voice, which is currently a suite of added phone functions. Users can have incoming calls ring multiple phones at the same time – e.g. home, office, and cellphone. Google Voice will also transcribe voicemails and then email or text the messages to you. However, these services require that you have an existing phone line.

No longer, thanks to Gizmo5. Now that Google can tie the two together, it starts to look like a full-fledged phone company – one with fun features that AT&T and Verizon don't offer. When the two truly merge, maybe it will be time to rethink your home phone bill.

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