Google Voice Now Available To All In US

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Google Voice announced today that it is now available to everyone in the US, with no need to track down an invite. Here’s a nice, quick intro video for the service for the unfamiliar:

For more tips, see my previous post on how to save money with Google Voice. Did you know you can use it to get free long distance anywhere in the US with your landline? Or, you can give your out-of-state parents a local number they can now call to reach you without paying long distance charges either. GV has expanded their available area codes recently, although many areas are still unavailable for now.

I currently use Google Voice as an additional freelance work number to give out, as opposed to my “one number to rule them all”. I also have it set up to handle my voicemail for my cell phone, in which GV transcribes them and sends it to me as a text message. The overall transcription isn’t the best, but enough to get the general idea and it manages to excel at recognizing phone numbers. I do enjoy the convenience of just reading messages as texts, and being able to listen to messages online while traveling internationally.

Any Gizmo5 experts want to write a guest post on how to build your own VoIP phone service with Google Voice on the cheap? Update: Gizmo5 is closed to new accounts. Lifehacker has a post about using Sipgate to make free calls (a bit clumsily). Since I’m happy with my Ooma, I don’t think I’m willing to put in the research time. 🙂

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  1. No thanks. Google already has too much of our information. I don’t want it to monitor my conservation.

  2. Can I use GV to call an international landline phone?

  3. @Alex – Yes, here are their international calling rates.

  4. Another of my favorite uses for Google voice is to give out to vendors and craigslist people….or anyone else I might not want to talk to again. If I start getting calls that I don’t want I just block their number and they get this very authentic sounding, “this phone number has been disconnected” message. I’ve only made use of this once after a person from craigslist kept calling to try and sell me some sort of AMWAY type product that had nothing to do with the table I sold them.

  5. I use one of my GV numbers exclusively for all my accounts. It helps to filter the marketing calls, and I can call from that number anywhere I’m at.

  6. GoogleVoice is excellent. I have been using it for over 4 years since the GrandCentral days. I haven’t paid for long distance since getting my GrandCentral account. It is great for giving out a number to people you meet at networking events that turn out to be part of a MLM company (pyramid scheme).

    Clumsy is a good way to describe the current hoops one has to go through to get GoogleVoice paired with a home ATA box using Gizmo5 or Sipgate. In Ooma for the extra $150 in hardware over an ATA box you are getting freedom from the hassles of dealing with maintaining your own VoIP system. Stick with the Ooma until Google wraps Gizmo5 & GrandCentral into one tidy service that needs no time on your part.

  7. I’ve been using a Google voice for a few years now. Not too often, but I like the features. One nice feature… my Vonage plan is called the “Residential Hold.” I get free incoming mins and all outgoing at some small rate per min. I’m really just trying to keep the number and allow myself a line for people I don’t want to give my cell number to. Anyway, if I’m at home and I want to make a call on my Vonage line, I have GV call who i’m trying to contact and route it to my Vonage line. This is considered an incoming call. No charge on my end. I also give my GV number to my tenants so they they don’t have my real number.

  8. Try the Magic Jack Dongle, $19.95 a year, plug it into your USB port, plug in your RJ11 into that from a cheap phone (or use mic with your computer) and you have FREE local and long distance to ANY phone in the USA and Canada. I do NOT work for MJ, I just have one and it works perfect. Any voice mail is sent to you via email with the message attached as a WAV file. I use it in Spain where I stay for long lengths of time, plug it in, the calls are free back to the US because it is using a US ph #. There is no software, the dongle has an eprom in it that stores the software, and remembers your calls and contact list.


  9. As a permanent home phone replacement over the long run MJ will cost more than the Ooma or GV+Gizmo5 on an ATA. MJ won’t let you port/keep your current phone number – many replacing a home phone want this feature.

    You need to leave your computer running 24/7 to receive calls with the MJ. The cost of leaving your computer running is anywhere from $70-120/year in added electricity costs. More if you have a really old computer. Google MagicJack and electricity cost to see people who have used Kill-A-Watt devices to determine the exact cost of going this route.

    Ooma’s device or a stand along ATA uses very little electricity compared to a computer. $40 for MJ + $20 for each additional year + ~$7/month in additional electricity for a less elegant solution than an Ooma or ATA. MJ starts outpacing Ooma in total cost after a year and a half.

    Not that you need more of an excuse to stay away from MJ, but reading the Amazon reviews people report bad service and numerous other problems. It’s only has 3 stars. MJ is a solution pitched to the masses at WalMart who have heard of VoIP but don’t know any better than to look for a cheaper & better solution.

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