It would be wrong to classify Google as being purely objective here either. Despite high-profile moves like Google Voice, Gmail and Chat, I think that its dirty secret is that it doesn’t actually want to control or monetise communications per se. I suspect it sees a trillion-dollar market in telecoms services such as phone calls and SMS’s that could – eventually – be dissipated to near-zero and those sums diverted into alternate businesses in cloud infrastructure, advertising and other services.
I suspect Google believes (as do I) that a lot of communications will eventually move “into” applications and contexts. You’ll speak to a taxi driver from the taxi app, send messages inside social networks, or conclude business deals inside a collaboration service. You’ll do interviews “inside” LinkedIn, message/speak to possible partners inside a dating app etc. If your friend wants to meet you at the pub, you’ll send the message inside a mapping widget showing where it is… and so on.
I think Google wants to monetise communications context rather than communications sessions, through advertising or other enabling/exploiting capabilities.
Feature or Product (aka Service)? Perhaps like cameras they will remain both, albeit the Product version being a little more niche.