Google Voice is really cool

I was somehow invited into the Google Voice beta, and I am loving it. It works, it’s cheap, and under some circumstances it can make telephony cheaper for some people, e.g. college kids.

Having a single number to be called in and never miss a call since it rings on all of your available phone numbers, having spam detection, free SMS, free Voicemail (accessible via the web, either with speech-to-text or via direct audio), and even free call-in on VoIP, well, all these features are really cool. Especially since a few years ago I left VoIP behind. I have now paired my Gizmo5 SIP number to Google Voice, and it works wonderfully well. I have a free call-in from around the world, without paying a dime. And if I want to call out, I pay nothing for calls in the continental US, and only $0.02 per minute for France/Greece. This is dirt cheap, cheaper than any VoIP operator, let alone actual carriers!

In the past, one had to use IPKall if he/she wanted to use a free call-in number with VoIP SIP, but this didn’t always work well, as they delete your account if you don’t use it after a few weeks. With Google Voice, there’s no such fear.

I believe the following plan could work for many poor people or college kids. Here’s how:
1. Get an unlocked cheap Nokia S60 smartphone with VoIP SIP WiFi support. You can get one for $200.
2. Get a free Gizmo5 VoIP SIP account/number.
3. When you eventually get your Google Voice invite, “pair” it with your VoIP SIP number (follow the instructions on Google’s page, you must not include the +1 prefix in order for this to work).
4. [Optional] Get a $25-per-3-months “pay-as-you-go” SIM card from either T-Mobile or AT&T, so you can call out too if you need to. Alternatively, you can buy call-out credit from Gizmo5, which is much cheaper ($0.04 per min), but that would mean that you can only call-out when connected to WiFi.
4. Give everyone your Google Voice number. Your VoIP # will now start ringing (and your cell # too, if it’s also paired).
5. When you are visiting others who have a landline, e.g. your old folks who might not have WiFi in their home, you can temporarily pair their phone number with your Google Voice too, so you won’t have to use your cellphone at all (Google can also ring your incoming calls on both phones).

The only thing I would like to see from Google Voice is an actual VoIP SIP protocol that they host themselves. This way, I would be able to call-out with their dirt cheap rates without having to go through Gizmo5’s (somewhat crazy sometimes) servers and higher rates. If this ever happens, I would like Google to make absolutely sure their SIP servers work with the Nokia VoIP phones. And why not, write a good Android SIP client too (not third party, but part of Android, so it’s well integrated).

Another feature I would like to see is the ability to say to the system “if I receive a call between 11 PM to 11 AM, put it straight on voicemail” (update: the option exists in the advanced menu of each paired phone). I might then put up my Google Voice number on my blog, and ask people call me directly with their video editing questions. I get about 10 emails daily about video tech support, and honestly, I rather talk than write… 😉

13 Comments »

kragil wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 2:01 AM PST:

Interesting. I hope we get this in Germany.

As for Android integration Android allows you to rewrite the internals.


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Eugenia wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 2:25 AM PST:

The fact that Android is open source does not mean that integrated VoIP should be part of a third party project. Either Google does it, or I am not interested. It’s one of these things that must be part of the system from day 1.


himanshu wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 3:28 AM PST:

I got the inviation email, but sadly, the service is not available outside america 🙁


jaime wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 9:09 AM PST:

What do you mean by \get your Google Voice invite, “pair” it with your VoIP SIP\?


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 11:08 AM PST:

You will know when you get an invite.


VoIP for Bangladesh wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 1:59 PM PST:

We are trying to explore Internet for free VoIP, and other means of free calling to Bangladesh, and do some study to post it on our blog for our reader. We put your experience of Google Voice on our blog, earlier we have posted for Google Voice.


Stanoman wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 2:37 PM PST:

I don’t have my Voice invite yet, but I’m already thinking about dumping vonage in favor of something cheaper. How are you getting free outbound calls with Gizmo5? “And if I want to call out, I pay nothing for calls in the continental US” – seems like they’re charging $1.9/min on their site.


Laura wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 2:44 PM PST:

I love google voice too! They have a very cool “Do Not Disturb” feature that I use all the time (calls go straight to voicemail). And you know you can put a “Call me on Google Voice” widget on your blog, right? Would that help with your last request?


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 2:49 PM PST:

Stanoman, you misunderstood. Google Voice doesn’t charge for US calls, Gizmo5 does. GVoice can connect two people by ringing their respective phones. So if you have “paired” to Google Voice your Gizmo5 phone, you will be connecting to someone to talk to, free of charge.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 11th, 2009 at 2:50 PM PST:

>And you know you can put a “Call me on Google Voice” widget on your blog, right?

Yes, in fact, I had it on my blog for about 10 minutes yesterday, before I decided to take it down because it wouldn’t fit in my web design.

>Would that help with your last request?

No. I need a feature on Google Voice that sets the “go straight to voicemail from this hour to that hour PST”. I need it to be automatic, so I don’t have to set it every day.


ctd1500 wrote on July 12th, 2009 at 3:47 AM PST:

“I need a feature on Google Voice that sets the “go straight to voicemail from this hour to that hour PST”. I need it to be automatic, so I don’t have to set it every day.”

This feature exists, though it may not be in the form that you’d like.

Settings -> Phones
Click “Edit” for each phone (repeat the process below for each phone)
Click “Show advanced settings”
Under “Ring Schedule” choose “use custom schedule” for both Weekdays and Weekends and supply times that you don’t want phones to ring. If you do this for each phone, Google Voice will have no choice but to send everything to voice mail during those times.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 12th, 2009 at 4:00 AM PST:

ctd1500, thanks, that’s what I was looking for.

So I guess I only need a Google-run SIP solution only now!


jaime wrote on July 13th, 2009 at 7:04 AM PST:

How you input the google security code in the Gizmo5 when you try to pair it with google voice?


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