Google will shut down the standalone Gizmo5 VoIP service on April 3, 16 months after acquiring Gizmo5 and rolling the startup's engineers into its Google Voice team.
On March 4, the company sent an email to Gizmo5 customers, saying that the service would be discontinued and that, on March 11, users will no longer be able to add credit to their accounts. Google confirmed the email with The Reg.
"Since the Gizmo5 team joined Google in 2009, we’ve worked together to improve the overall Google Voice experience and introduce new calling features, such as the ability to call phones from within Gmail," a company spokeswoman said. "In an effort to focus our resources on core Google Voice innovations, we will be discontinuing the Gizmo5 service in early April."
Google launched Gizmo5-powered Gmail phone calls in late August. If you use Gizmo5 and you're in the US, you can transfer your Gizmo5 credit to Google Voice, and it can be used for calling from either Google Voice or Gmail. Alternatively, you can request a Gizmo5 refund at http://my.gizmo5.com.
Gmail calls are actually cheaper than Gizmo5 calls. If you don't have a Google Voice account, you must create one to transfer credit. If you do not request a refund or transfer by April 3, Google will attempt to automatically refund remaining call credit via your original payment method. If you paid with Moneybookers or your credit card on file with Google has expired, an automatic refund will not be possible. You will have to request one before April 3 or lose your credit.
In a separate development, some Google Voice users have noticed that they could make pure IP calls to Google Voice accounts, bypassing traditional phone networks entirely. This could be done, a report said, by appending "@sip.voice.google.com" to a Google Voice number. Apparently, this provided a SIP URI that could be used with any SIP phone.
Other reports indicate, however, that this does not work for all Google Voice accounts. And Google has indicated it was merely testing the feature on some accounts. "We're continually testing new product features and functionalities, but we do not currently support SIP calling or the ability to bring your own SIP end point," the same company spokeswoman said. ®