Google took out its checkbook again. This time the search giant aims to purchase a real-time voice and video processing software company called Global IP Solutions. The US$ 68.2 million dollar deal reportedly won't affect GIPS customers, but it may mean some highly interesting things for Google's future offerings.
Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, the now San Francisco-based GIPS develops real-time voice and video processing software for IP networks. Its customers including some major names like Yahoo, Nortel, Samsung, and AOL.
Google is also on the customer roster, but apparently that's not enough. Why? Well, GIPS offers high-definition and one-way video conferencing/chat cababilities for iPhone, iPad, and most recently, Android developers. Transfer that technology over to Google, and, well, you've got what we're betting is going to be a flood of video conversations over IP networks and mobile devices.
"The Web is evolving quickly as a development platform, and real-time video and audio communication over the Internet are becoming important new tools for users," said Rian Liebenberg, engineering director at Google. Buttressing Liebenerg's statement is some recent action from Skype. The platform's latest beta of Skype 5.0 adds goup video chat for Windows users.
"Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features you'll see us roll out during 2010," said Peter Parkes of Skype. "We haven't set prices for these premium features yet, but rest assured that we're still absolutely committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling."
Meanwhile, a smaller company called Paltalk already lets up to 10 users video chat (for free) in a standard web browser, without the need to download or install anything.
The Google/GIPS deal needs to be approved by the owners of 90% of Global IP Solutions' stock, but the companies say they already have the support of shareholders who own more than 50%. In any case, we expect to hear a lot more from real-time video communication in the coming months. You may want to tune in.