UPDATE: Google Acquired Gizmo in 2009.
Voice over IP products seem to keep springing up. Unlike some of the other offerings, which represent niche alternatives to traditional instant messaging clients with audio support, Gizmo has its sights set on competing with Skype. The message is, we do all the things Skype can do, only our network is open to interfacing with other client applications. This is potentially compelling if you know other people using SIP phone software, because you don’t need to have them download Gizmo in order to place a call. The large install base of Skype, this may be an uphill battle that end users don’t care about. Time will tell. In my test of Gizmo, it passed through my firewall and NAT without issue. For those who prefer the feel of a traditional POTS phone, Gizmo supports a number SIP phone hardware devices, most notably one from D-Link. CallOut supports direct dialing traditional phone numbers at 1.8 cents per minute in the US, with rates under 5 cents per minute in many countries. CallIn provides a phone number people using regular phones can access for a minimal monthly fee. Voicemail allows you to readily drop a message to anyone who doesn’t pickup your call. Built in call recording makes this a potentially interesting tool for podcasting. An interesting mapping feature shows you where in the world the person you’re talking to may be located. I’m not ready to hearld Gizmo as the replacement for Skype, but interoperability between VoIP systems is a must if we are ever going to replace traditional POTS with something more portable. [Windows 2k/XP Mac OS X $0.00]