Thursday, March 12, 2009
YouMail Gets New Competition: Google
Irvine-based startup YouMail has just gotten a new competitor: search engine giant Google, which launched a significantly comparable service to YouMail's voice mail services. YouMail offers a voice mail service which allows cell phone users to preview their voicemail messages in email or on the web, convert those voicemails to text, and provide personalized phone greetings to callers, depending on who is calling. The venture backed startup--which has scored funding from the Tech Coast Angels and VantagePoint Venture Partners--appears to have significant overlap to Google's new Google Voice services.
Google, released a preview of its new voicemail services late Wednesday evening, saying that the new service--based on technology it gained from an acquisition of GrandCentral Communications in 2007--will offer call screening, voicemail transcripts, ability to check voicemails online, personalized greetings, and other features. All of those features are key features of YouMail's service. However, Alex Quilici, the firm's CEO, told socalTECH that he actually sees something good from the competition. "Our model has lately been to do a deal with carriers directly," he explained, saying that those carriers were replacing their voicemail with YouMail, "in some ways, this is very helpful to us, as it lights a fire under the carriers."
Quilici did say that the move is competition to the firm, saying "Anyone in the voice mail space is some competition to us," but he was upbeat about the attention now being given to the area. "The plus is that people will be paying a lot more attention to the space, and what is possible in a voice mail offering." Quilici also noted that the firm is "very hard to displace" due to lengthy deals the firm has with carriers.