News: Search giant plans to deepen its reach in telecom domain with own bundled telephone service.
Google wants to make landline phones relevant again by introducing a Fiber Phone for families who still see home phone service as important.
Fiber Phone is a cloud-based phone number that can be used from on almost any phone, tablet or laptop.
Google Fiber product manager John Shriver-Blake in a blog said: "Fiber Phone can help you make the most of your home phone — even when you’re not at home. Adding Fiber Phone means getting access on the road, in the office, or wherever you are.
"Landlines can be familiar, reliable and provide high-quality service, but the technology hasn’t always kept up. That’s why today, we’re introducing Fiber Phone as a new option to help you stay connected wherever you are."
Using Fiber Phones, subscribers can make unlimited local and nationwide calling for just $10/month. Users will also get call waiting, caller ID, and 911 services.
International calling rates for these Fiber Phones will be similar to those charged for Google Voice services.
"Fiber Phone can also make it easier to access your voicemail — the service will transcribe your voice messages for you and then send as a text or email," Shriver-Blake said.
Fiber Phone will be launched in a few areas initially before rolling out as an option to residential customers in all the Google’s Fiber cities.
"Once we bring the service to your area, you can sign up and get the service through a simple installation process," he added.
Currently, Google Fiber, a subsidiary of Alphabet, provides broadband internet and cable television services in the US. It alsopartnered with content providers for faster streaming of videos on its network.
Launched in 2012, Fiber services are now available in four cities such as Kansas City, Atlanta, Austin and Provo. The company is expected to introduce those services in another seven cities in the coming months.
Media reports on the launch of Fiber phone by Google have been circulating over the past two months. In January, a Washington Post report said that the company had sent invitations to its high-speed Internet subscribers to experiment the new telephone service. The service was being designed on the lines of Google Voice.
A Google spokesperson, Kelly Mason, said that the Fiber phone service would come with a little black box, with ethernet and phone jacks that are suitable for most of the handsets.
Google’s entry into land line telephone services comes at a time when most of the telecom operators have been shifting their focus to Internet content services.
Mobile phone service providers are now looking at attractive data market to increase their revenues, while lessening focus on voice services.
Though Fiber Phones enable customers to add few cloud-based features to their home phones, the services are almost similar to that of Google Voice.
Besides, Fiber Phone comes with a subscription charges and involves some installations, whereas in Google Voice there are no such things.
Google plans to introduce Fiber Phone at a time when a significant number of people in the US are taking mobile-only route for their communication needs.