Thursday, July 30, 2009

Free Phone Service

I presume lot of people have heard of Google Voice which is actually a service from Google which enables you to have a phone number and also use that for receiving/placing calls all for free.

Actually Google bought over a company called Grand Central which had that service.

You need an invite to sign-up for Google Voice. I happen to be a lucky person who got invited to the service and I am really impressed with the functionality. Let's look at the features available with just Google Voice and then we will look at small tweaks which can be made to make the service absolutely free.

1) You register based on the Invite and you get to choose a phone number, you can choose numbers in your dialing area if needed. Currently there is no provision of changing your existing land line number for this.
2) Once you have selected a phone number, you will then set-up a forwarding rule, where you can make that phone ring any of your other phones like your cell phone etc.
3) You can also use that number as a catch all message number with no forwarding where it will directly go to your voice message which can be configured like any other phone.
4) The voice mails and call log can also be accessed online through your Google account, the best part is the voice mail are transcribed to text which you just read instead of listening to an audio file.
6) Google voice advt free calling, but that is actually not true if you are having just your cell phone,the way the call piece works is that on the Google voice site you enter the number you want to call, then Google will place a call to your associated phone first which will be your mobile and once you pick up, it will connect the calling number. But in this process if your associated phone is a cell phone, you will anyway pay for the minutes.

Now the free part

To overcome the problem mentioned above, the workaround can be as follows. There is another service called gizmo5 which actually loads an applet on your PC and the interface is just like Skype. When you sign up ( it is free) and download the applet you will also be given a number by Gizmo5 which is not really important here. What you need to do is to put that number as the associated number in Google Voice.

So let's see what happens.

When you go to Google voice and dial a number, google voice will first call the associated number which will be the Gizmo5 number which will ring on your computer, assuming you have headphones and microphone, you pick up that call and then Google voice will dial your number which you want and then you are connected with the perosn.

It might sound a little complicated, but trust me once set-up it is a no-brainer.

Finally i am going to have free calls and I am going to cut my VOIP soon.

Thanks Google.

Long live free enterprise.