Print 16 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on Aug 26 at 3:43 PM

  (Source: Mashable)
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On its altruistic quest for world domination, Google has merged Google Voice with Gmail, allowing users to make phone calls to any number directly from the browser.

According to neowin, Google will be rolling out the feature progressively in the U.S. and Canada over the next few days. Or you can install the Google Voice plugin now, allowing you to make free calls to anyone in the U.S. or Canada, and 2-cent-per-minute calls to 30 select countries.

The feature will allow users to receive calls right in Gmail, too, with their Google Voice phone number. TechCrunch is reporting that "call quality is very, very good – comparable to Skype." TC has a short video demonstrating the new functionality.

For the uninitiated, Google Voice is a (mostly) free phone service and allows users to choose one number for up to six different devices. You can use the same number for a mobile phone, home phone, and work phone, having all phones ring at the same time, or having none of them ring. Voicemails that others leave you are automatically transcribed to text and are forwarded to your e-mail.

The newly integrated Google Voice will also support video chat.

At the same press conference that it announced the new functionality, Google also unveiled plans to install U.K.-style red phone booths across universities and airports to promote Google Voice. Users will be able to make free calls from the booths, which employ Google Voice, to anywhere in the world. The booths are a way for the California-based tech company to show off the the voice quality of the service compared to other VoIP and landline-based phones.

Google did not say how many phone booths it plans to install or release specific locations. Look for more details in the coming weeks.

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By ipay on 8/26/2010 9:58:25 AM , Rating: 2
I just tried it as well. Great quality but I am also unsure as to the benefit yet. Maybe it'll help you skip a step or two when you are browsing the web and want to make a call. There's a great write-up on That's where I learned about it.

RE: Nice
By jimbojimbo on 8/26/2010 11:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
The huge advantage is you don't wind up using any minutes of your cell plan if you're like most people and already ditched that land line.

I've been a Gizmo5 customer for a while now so having this ability to call from a computer isn't all that exciting to me I guess. I do love my VoIP phone though.

RE: Nice
By marvdmartian on 8/26/2010 12:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
Ditched the landline, hardly use my cell phone. Magic Jack, for $20/year, is sufficient for anything I'll ever need.

RE: Nice
By Pirks on 8/26/2010 1:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
Can you accept the calls made from traditional landline phones? Or can you only MAKE calls to them with MagicJack?

RE: Nice
By bbomb on 8/26/2010 3:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
Magicjack can make and receive calls, the caveat being that the computer it is installed on has to be always online and always on, not even in sleep mode.

RE: Nice
By jimbojimbo on 8/26/2010 3:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
My Google Voice and Gizmo5. $0/year. Well, I did pay $40 for the VoIP box but that was over a year ago.

Wait a minute here.
By Chris Peredun on 8/26/2010 9:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
I have unlimited data on my Android smartphone.

Did Google just give me unlimited calling to all of North America, for free ?

RE: Wait a minute here.
By nafhan on 8/26/2010 9:58:16 AM , Rating: 2
For now, yes. The catch is they are going to re-evaluate at the end of the year and may or may not start charging in 2011. For now, take advantage of it, but don't count on having free calling next year.

RE: Wait a minute here.
By jimbojimbo on 8/26/2010 11:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
I just hope they don't fiddle with how Gizmo5 is working right now because I love things the way they are. Well, I wish they'd give invites for Gizmo5 signup like GVoice did before.

RE: Wait a minute here.
By TallCoolOne on 8/26/2010 10:02:12 AM , Rating: 2
Or to rephrase the question, after numerous carriers have picked up Android phones and helped make them a hit, has Google just slapped them in the balls by offering free phone service?

RE: Wait a minute here.
By TheHarvester on 8/26/2010 11:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Not exactly, though I'm not 100% sure how they're going to update the Google Talk application for Android. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think this VOIP GoogleSkype is just a desktop application thing, not for mobile devices. I think when Google Voice is used as a call forwarding service, it's not VOIP, though I could be wrong.

That being said, anyone who has an unlimited data plan and is still paying for texting is clueless (one guy humorously made up a chart demonstrating that many carriers make you pay the equivalent of $76,696 per gigabyte for a $10 or $15 plan: ). There are a number of services offered for free online texting now, but with a GV number, it's integrated with Gmail and you can have texts arrive in your gmail inbox, pushed to your phone as if they were emails (you can respond in line), making them searchable, free, and entirely integrated with your existing contacts database.

Also, this is a pretty well known trick as well, but many carriers let you add phones to your "my five" or whatever unlimited calling circles they offer. If you add your GV number, you can get free outgoing calls (because they're directly patched through a call to GV), though it appears that incoming calls aren't always free due to the origin being a different number.

Don't mean to sound like an ad for the thing, but I've found GV to be extremely useful... I was able to get the cheapest phone plan (Verizon, mine is like 400 minutes a month... some months I make 1000 minutes of calls with only about 60-100 showing up on the bill as charged minutes) without paying for texting. Not to mention the voicemail customization and call forwarding and other useful services you normally have to pay for to have on an enterprise level.

Great Quality
By spwrozek on 8/26/2010 8:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
I tried it out last night and it was great. Crystal clear quality. I was only using the basic version so far.

I will be interested to hear more about getting a Google number and tying it to my cell phone. At this point I am not sure of the benefit.

Has anyone done this yet and what is it like?

RE: Great Quality
By Blight AC on 8/26/2010 11:19:18 AM , Rating: 2
Google Voice tied to your phone service is plain awesome. You give people your Google Voice number and it rings on any phone you setup. I believe you can even schedule phones to ring at certain times of day (like your office phone will ring during your normal work hours etc).

Also, the Voicemail service is great, the transcriptions... well, some are just so hilariously wrong, but it can be useful, especially if people give their number clearly.

If you have an Android phone, it integrates with the phone nicely giving you free instant Text Messages to your Google Voice number, as well as instant notifications of new Voicemails.

Also, Google Voice gives you tons of control over how your calls are routed. You can have certain contacts only ring on specific phones, or go directly to a "This number is no longer in service." message for those pesky telemarketers, advertisers, ex's, etc (although I haven't had any using my Google Voice number yet).

The biggest issue I've seen with Google Voice is answering machines. You have two options, you can either be prompted to press 1 to accept any/specific Google Voice calls, which really is annoying when trying to take a call with handsfree, or set all answering machines to only answer after 6 rings or more (if you still have landline or a VoIP service). With Cell Phones you can opt to have your normal voicemail service replaced with Google Voice's, so when a user calls your cell phone, and it goes to voicemail, it'll go to your Google Voice voicemail instead of your cell providers service.

The problem is if you don't have the prompt setup, it's possible that the call can be picked up by any answering machine that takes the call first. Then if they leave a message on that answering machine, you won't get a notification and transcription through the Google Voice service. If Google Voice is setup to prompt though, the answering machine doesn't deliver the prompt and your call goes to the Google Voice voicemail. So, it's a bit clunky if you have any landlines/VoIP with voicemail or answering machines, but overall, the service is totally worth it.

I currently have mine setup to not prompt for Contact's Starred in Android, my cell phone setup to use Google Voice's voicemail and my answering machine at home setup to answer on 6 rings.

What I most like about the service is that when people call my Google Voice number, it rings both my cell and home numbers. It's quite convenient, as people don't have to try multiple numbers to find me, and when my cell phone isn't loud enough or the ringer is off, I'll still be likely to hear a call while at home. My cell ringer is typically loud enough for me to hear while it's on me, but not so much when it's in the kitchen and I'm playing on my PC in a different room, or watching TV.

Oh, one other feature I love is you can press * (or maybe #) while on a call and it will ring your other Google Voice numbers! Getting bad reception on your cell at home? You can simply transfer the call to your home number, and take it on a landline. Also useful if you're low on minutes or battery on your cell, or took the call while driving home, and now want to use the home phone for the rest of the call. Pretty good stuff.

RE: Great Quality
By jimbojimbo on 8/26/2010 12:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, one other feature I love is you can press * (or maybe #) while on a call and it will ring your other Google Voice numbers
It's the * and yes, this is very convenient but you can only do this with incoming calls, not ones you've placed. Maybe in the future.

F*cking salt on my wounds, again
By Pirks on 8/26/2010 1:00:42 PM , Rating: 1
There are no numbers available in Canada, BOTH IN SKYPE AND IN GOOGLE VOICE! So since I'm in Canada noone can call me using a traditional phone number. The US gets everything and Canada just keeps sucking balls as usual. Fuck :(

By jimbojimbo on 8/26/2010 3:43:57 PM , Rating: 1
If you hate it so much start up your own search engine company and base it out of Canada then you could start screwing the Americans.

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