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Gizmo5 (formerly known as Gizmo Project and SIPphone) is a Voice over Internet Protocol communications network and of a proprietary freeware soft phone for that network. On November 12, 2009, Google announced that it had acquired Gizmo5 [1].

Gizmo Project was founded by Michael Robertson and his company SIPphone.[2]

The Gizmo5 network uses open standards for call management, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)[3]. However, the Gizmo5 client application is proprietary software and uses several proprietary codecs, including GIPS and Internet Speech Audio Codec (iSAC).



Gizmo5 is based on the Session Initiation Protocol and can interoperate with other SIP-based networks directly, including the public switched telephone network. The latter requires the Gizmo5 service features CallOut and CallIn, available at a fee, whereas calls to other VoIP users are generally free of cost. Gizmo also uses encryption (Secure Real-time Transport Protocol) for network calls and works well with Phil Zimmermann's new Zfone[4] security features.[citation needed]

Gizmo5 supports the following Codecs:

  • GSM — fixed bit rate, not loss tolerant, narrow band (8khz sampling rate)
  • PCMA — fixed bit rate (8 kHz sampling rate)
  • PCMU — fixed bit rate (8 kHz sampling rate, high band width)
  • EG711 (Enhanced G.711) — fixed bit rate, loss tolerant, narrowband
  • iSAC — variable bit rate, loss tolerant, narrow and wideband (8 to 16khz)
  • iLBC — variable bit rate, loss tolerant, narrow
  • iPCMwb — 16 kHz sampling rate
  • iPCM — fixed bit rate, loss tolerant, wideband

Version 4.0 of the Gizmo softphone offers video calls. Gizmo5 offers Gizmo on a smartphone platform.

As of July 20, 2009, Gizmo is the only SIP service without PSTN-based US phone numbers that may be used with Google Voice.

The text chat function of Gizmo5 utilizes the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) protocol.[5] Users are addresses by an identification string in the format of

Service features

Gizmo supports outbound caller line identification in the United States.[6]

Gizmo provides a free voicemail service[7].

Gizmo allows paying subscribers of LiveJournal to place voiceposts if they are unable to use the voicepost telephone lines provided by the website.[8]

Mobile phone support

The Gizmo5 mobile phone application uses the phone's carrier voice network for all calls. The service calls the phone numbers of both parties and bridges the call. On mobile phones that support SIP applications, calls may be placed over WiFi or 3G. In the case of WiFi the calls to Gizmo users are free, and calls to the public switched telephone network are charged Gizmo Call Out credit. On 3G, additional cost may apply depending on the user's data plan.[citation needed]


In July 2009, I-P-Tel Gmbh, a provider of various VoIP related products, accused Gizmo5 of violating the GPL with regards to a SIP client for Android phones (Sipdroid) I-P-Tel Gmbh wrote and licensed under the GPL. Shortly afterward, I-P-Tel Gmbh blocked access to Gizmo5 via I-P-Tel Gmbh's service until a link was provided to the source.[9]


On November 12, 2009, Google announced that it had acquired Gizmo5[1] for a reported $30 million in cash. Prior to this acquisition, Gizmo5 had had a working relationship with GrandCentral (now Google Voice) for years[citation needed]. Upon announcement, Gizmo5 suspended new signups until a Google relaunch.[10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Google welcomes Gizmo5". Google Voice Blog. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  2. Stevenson, Ted (May 19, 2006). "Softphones Reviewed: Gizmo Project". Voip Planet. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  3. Lock, Tony (July 5, 2005). "Project Gizmo challenges Skype". The Register. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  4. "The Zfone Project - Getting Started with Zfone". Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  5. Knight, Jay (September 16, 2005). "Gizmo's Jabber Server". Jay Knight. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  6. "Gizmo5 Knowledgebase". Gizmo5. September 27, 2005. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  7. "Gizmo5 Knowledgebase". Gizmo5. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  8. Barnard, Patrick (October 17, 2006). "LiveJournal Adds Gizmo, Letting Users Make Free VoIP Calls". TMCNet. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  9. "Block announcement for Gizmo Project". Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  10. Kovitz, Steven (14 November 2009). "It's Official - Google Acquires Gizmo5!". Google Voice Secrets. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 

External links

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