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Google Offers Homeless Free Voicemail  (Source: MSNBC)
Google says the voicemail will allow doctors and employers to contact the homeless

The problem for many homeless job seekers and homeless people with medical conditions is that while they can get assistance with healthcare and looking for a job, they don’t typically have a way for doctors or potential employers to contact them.

Google announced this week that it would offer free voicemail to every homeless person in San Francisco. The voicemail will cost the homeless people nothing and messages can be retrieved from any phone. The users would be able to leave their own personal greetings and the numbers are theirs to keep forever.

Google says that there will be nothing to indicate to people calling the voicemail that it is anything other than a standard local number. This will allow homeless to fill out job applications and leave a contact number, making them more likely to find work. The numbers can also be used to allow doctors and clinics to contact users as well as giving family a way to reach the homeless.

Craig Walker, senior project manager at Google told MSNBC, "It just seems exactly like any other voicemail. There's no stigma attached to it that 'hey this is a temporary thing' or 'this is an 800 number.' It's really just a local number owned by the user."

The program is ready to start in San Francisco right away and if successful could be rolled out to more cities across the country in the future. Google also announced another new imitative today called Google Health that allows people to keep medical records in one place.

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By zombiexl on 2/29/2008 2:37:48 PM , Rating: 1
Hurry up and rate me down becuase i made a negative comment about the beloved google. Had MS done this and i made the same comment i'd have been rated up to 5 by now.

RE: So they need to use a phone to get the messages?
By bhieb on 2/29/2008 5:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
Excacltly, what difference does it make. They are trying to do something, not enough in your eyes, but MS, Google, One laptop per child, who cares the point is someone tries to do something and trolls like you cannot wait to jump their ass for not doing it the way you see fit. Here is a novel why don't you do it? Seriously all you have done is bash someone trying to do something good, at least they are doing something.

By straycat74 on 2/29/2008 6:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
I still think the OLPC is a bad idea now that YOU mentioned it. Especially when I keep seeing how african girls need sanitary napkins from the US so they can attend school. Good intentions don't really mean squat. You have to define the problem before getting a solution. How about a mental health care initiative from google for the homeless. That would actually produce results for the majority of them.
Google could also start up a non-profit health insurance company that recoups its costs through advertising. Michael Moore could chip in too and put his money where his 'belief' is.

By zombiexl on 3/1/2008 12:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
Go back through my post history before you call me a troll. Just becuase you dont like my opinion doesnt make me a troll. I think its a good start, but i also think they are doing it strictly for publicity. We should wait to see hard numbers of how its used/abused before we say its a good idea. I only pointed out that if a homeless person needs to pay to call to check the voicemail its less helpful.

Whats the point of a free service that you have to pay for?

By INeedCache on 3/2/2008 7:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
Had Microsoft done this they likely would have been sued. But Google is the current darling of the tech world. I don't trust them any more than Microsoft or anyone else. But it seems like most other people do. Sheep to the slaughter.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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