'

Here's a path from Google Talk to Google VoIP

Speculation is rife today that come Wednesday, Google will announce an IM chat product named Google Talk.In fact, the Los Angeles Times posted a scoop about it Monday evening.

Speculation is rife today that come Wednesday, Google will announce an IM chat product named Google Talk.

In fact, the Los Angeles Times posted a scoop about it Monday evening.

The Times' Chris Gaither cites unidentified sources who have seen the product as saying that this new app will allow headset-wearing users to have voice conversations with each other.

Not that the dividing line between IM and Internet Telephony is an airtight border, but that's still on the IM side of things to me.

I'm speculating that's where they will stay for at least a while. But over time, I wouldn't be surprised to see them edge slowly into Internet Telephony by their embracing of open source standards such as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and especially, Jabber.

Jabber is an open, XML-based protocol for instant messaging and presence.

OK, Google, if you want to be a VoIP player, you'll integrate a softphone into Google Talk, and sell minutes, Skype-style.

I think Google will do this, eventually through an alliance with an entity that already has a softphone product, and embraces open standards. The Gizmo Project comes to mind, but there could be others.

If Google takes that step, they might eventually place themselves in a position where they will either be a reseller, or be poised to enter into some sort of a co-branded alliance with an existing VoIP provider.

But what if Google wants to go beyond desktop softphone and whole hog into the VoIP world of routers, gateways analog terminal adapters?

I don't see them doing it on their own, but I envision a marketing partner for them. 

With a $76 billion market cap on the heels of Monday's closing stock price of $274.01, Google has a bit of spare change laying around, is great at branding,  but has no VoIP experience. Packet 8 -which closed at $1.79 a share yesterday- has very little spare change laying around, is pretty good at branding, but has lots of VoIP experience and a reputation for quality.