Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) is looking more like a telecom with each passing day. Android is one of the fastest-growing mobile operating systems. Google Voice is taking a bite out of Skype and AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) via Gmail calls. And of course there's Google TV and the company's fiber to the home experiment.
To all that you can now add number portability. On Tuesday, the Big G announced in a blog post that it would allow users to port their existing mobile numbers to Google Voice. What's next, satellite dishes and repair trucks?
For its part, Google said the feature is meant to placate users who love the software but don't want another number. I'm sure that's true, but the long-term effect of moves like these is that they wrest account control from network owners.
We've seen similar moves from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , which has reportedly toyed with creating its own SIM cards for the iPhone. The Mac maker also added Google Voice to the iPhone to keep Googly users like me from switching to an Android device.
Both companies are fighting to be first in line to serve our personal and business communications needs in the Internet age. They'll do it with hardware, software, and services without worrying about the underlying network.
Think about how remarkable that is. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) have spent billions on networks that are becoming a commodity.
It's taken years to get to this point. Rather than a singular disruption, the change is the result of a series of encroachments designed to elevate the stature and usefulness of the Internet. Multimedia messaging played a part. So did Skype. And so did Twitter, which is based on simple text messaging. All of it pointed toward a day when digital telephony would overwhelm the analog network that birthed it.
Well, Fool, that day has finally arrived. A digital phone number -- a Googly phone number -- is consolidating its analog peers. Welcome to the future.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you think of Google Voice? Would you use it to consolidate all your other numbers? Use the comments section below to let us know what you think. You can also rate Google in Motley Fool CAPS.