Google Voice and iPhone

A couple of months ago, I read a small article about Google Voice.  I had seen stuff about it before, but was unclear exactly what it was.   A few trips to Google pages and I got a general idea, but still could not see how it would be of great benefit to me, especially since I have an iPhone 3G and my home number (a landline).  Anyway,  I found out that it was only available by invitation only, just like Gmail used to be. So, I applied for an invitation.  The more I read during the previous months, the more intrigued I became.  Finally, I received my invitation a few weeks ago and just  sort of looked at it.  I submitted it, and got my new phone number (which you can choose yourself).

symbol used to represent Google Voice
Google Voice Symbol

It’s really cool because the calling is free except for international calls (which is a very small amount in terms of money).  You can have different answering messages for different  people.  Free text messaging, voicemail transcription to name just a few of the advantages.  I can see why AT&T did not want Apple to allow Google Voice as an app on the iPhone.  Basically, I am trying to understand why I should even pay AT&T, when I could get all my services fro free.

The most obvious answer is that it is not as smoothly integrated.  For one, in order to have any of those features, you have to have people dial the new number.  Also, having to use an HTML5 app to make calls is a lot slower than just using the phone app on the iPhone.  Another drawback, is you would have to use your Gmail addressbook, or import your iPhone addressbook to Gmail.

Want to try it out for free?  On the bottom right of the page is a widget that says Call Me.  Enter your name, number and check the box that protects your anonymity, and it will call anyone you like.    Feeling brave enough?   BTW, if you have a Google mail account, you can make free calls from there too.

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