Google Voice is one of my favorite applications. I use this telephone service several times a day. It has transformed the method I use for phone calls.
With Google Voice, there is no hardware to purchase and no new telephone equipment required. You can use it with or without a computer. The voice calls are never sent to your computer so you don't have to wear headphones or anything like that. You simply use the normal telephone(s) you already have.
You can read my earlier article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2010/06/google-voice-is-now-open-to-all-us-residents-and-is-free.html
Google had originally announced that all outgoing calls to US and Canadian telephone numbers would be free of charge until the end of this year. However, today Google announced the company is extending free calls through all of 2011.
Writing in the Gmail Blog, Robin Schriebman, a software engineer at Google, states, "When we launched calling in Gmail back in August, we wanted it to be easy and affordable, so we made calls to the U.S. and Canada free for the rest of 2010. In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the new year, we’re extending free calling for all of 2011."
You can read more at http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/free-calling-in-gmail-extended-through.html
Google Voice also offers a lot of other features, such as ringing all of your phones simultaneously when an incoming call is received. Your friends and business associates no longer have to "hunt you down" by first calling your office, then your home, then your cell phone, and so on. Instead, they dial one (new) telephone number and all of your phones ring at once. You can answer the call on any of them, wherever you are.
A few years ago, a friend of mine called my office and I answered on my cell phone while walking along a street in Mumbai, India. My friend didn't know he had placed an international call until I told him where I was.
Google Voice also has been integrated with Google Mail, or Gmail. It works just like a regular phone. Look for “Call phone” at the top of your Gmail chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name.
While Google Voice provides free calls to U.S. and Canadian phones, the company also provides overseas calls at very low prices.
Google Voice is available only to U.S. residents.
To learn more, or to sign up for free calls and the other services, go to https://www.google.com/voice