On July 2nd, 2007, Google acquired GrandCentral, a private call forwarding service startup. I believe this will make an epoch in the combination of the virtual (internet) and the real (telephone) world.
Currently, you can only make phone calls from virtual world to the real world, say using your Skype phone to call your friend's cellphone. But with the infrastructure of GrandCentral and the power of Google, you will be able to make a call from the real world to the virtual world as the extended call forwarding will be able to route the call to your Google Talk or Skype terminal on your laptop.
And this is just the beginning. With a universal number in both the real world and the virtual world, SIP realization is just a piece of cake. You can set your connection preference on your web portal, say all business related calls will be route to my voice mail after 6:00PM with exception of a call from your boss.
One step forward, if Google partners with T-Mobile, whose coverage still needs improvement, and introduce dual mode phone (wi-fi and GSM) targeting price sensitive but tech savvy young customers, the world will be changed.
Think about this:
In the morning, on your way to your office, the system knows (GSM position) you are in your car or a train and all calls route to your cellphone.
When you arrive in your office, all calls will be route to your desk phone or softphone on your desktop.
When you have lunch break in a cafeteria with Wi-fi connection, calls from your friends will be route to your cell but through the Wi-fi network, which won't cost you any plan minutes.
After you arrive home, calls will be route to your Google Talk on your PC, with a speaker and microphone, you can talk with the other party just like he was in front of you.
If there were any annoying callers, you can just block their numbers by a few clicks on your portal.
But someone will be hurt by this technology trend. Your local phone company and those expensive wireless service providers who charged you too much for your freedom to talk.
With all the above freedom, your cost should not be greater than $50/month. That's my guess. Let's see.