the next big thing, times two
Gizmo is the next big thing. Sure, you’re saying to me, isn’t it just like Skype? Well yes and no. Yes, it’s VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for your Macintosh, Windows, or (soon) Linux computer. No, because it has an open architecture that will make your life much easier and streamlined. And that’s what it’s all about. Here’s how:
It’s really great being able to call other computers for free, and to call land-lines and cell phones for very cheap. But it’s annoying having all these Instant Message (IM) programs, address books, and VoIP programs running all the time. Clutter; bad.
Plug-ins which integrate the programs are where it’s at. Currently in testing, soon to be released, is a plug-in which allows you to monitor your Gizmo user list from within Adium (Mac) without having Gizmo open. (There’s been some chat with the Trillian (Windows) people, but nothing is baked as of this moment.) Adium does a pretty good job of extending the Apple Address Book program, not to mention the pleasure of having one program which ties together the big IM flavors: AOL (AIM), Yahoo, MSN, Jabber, and ICQ. If the Gizmo – Adium plug-in comes out fully-baked, it will be trivially easy to manage your contacts and to be available for IM and voice.
That’s pretty darn cool. Up to now you eliminated some clutter with Adium (or Trillian), but VoIP was stubbornly set apart. With Gizmo being folded in, things are better.
Skype – if they can get a grip on providing their functionality without their proprietary program – will have taken another big step towards being the ubiquitous voice provider. And that’s good for them, and it’s good for the rest of us.
In the meantime, take a moment to create a Skype account, a Gizmo account, and one or more IM accounts (on the networks which make sense given your computer and how you work). These are all free. Then share that information with friends and family and a few others. It’s great watching friends get up and go to sleep in time zones around the world; many of the people I know from my travels are now online with IM and VoIP.
It’s all good, and getting better. The next big thing is being wired in all the ways you choose, easily.