This has nothing to do with genealogy, but I am a big fan of Google's free telephone service and have written about it several times. See http://goo.gl/Qxg0K for a list of my past articles about Google Voice. Now Google has announced that the service will continue to be free through all of 2013. The official, although brief, announcement is available on the Official Gmail Blog at http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/free-calling-within-us-and-canada.html.
GoogleVoice is available to all U.S. residents. It provides FREE telephone calls to any telephones in the United States and Canada and calls to other countries are available at very, very low prices, much lower than what most telephone companies charge. Google Voice does NOT replace your present telephone. You keep your present phone or else replace it with a lower-cost service obtained elsewhere. Google Voice simply adds extra functionality to your present phone, regardless if it is a standard, old-fashioned phone, a cell phone, or a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) computer phone. There is no need to use a headset on your computer or anything similar. You also (optionally) can use a new telephone number for use on incoming calls, again at no charge.
I disconnected my old telephone service several years ago and I don't miss it. I now use a combination of a cell phone plus a VoIP phone, supplemented by Google Voice. The VoIP phone at home looks like any standard cordless phone, except that it plugs into the Internet router, not into a connection supplied by a telephone company. You can see a picture of my VoIP phone to the right (click on the picture to see a larger image). The VoIP phone works even when the computer is turned off although the Internet router in my home must be left on all the time. The VoIP phone service is almost free and yet I can make calls to standard telephones anywhere in the world.
While the cell phone is expensive, I feel I need it when traveling.
I also have installed an app called Groundwire on my iPhone that allows me to place and receive calls through Google Voice instead of the cell phone company, thereby saving cell phone minutes. It works in conjunction with a separate VoIP service that is almost free (I pay about $1.35 a month for federal taxes), much cheaper than paying for cell phone calls.
The VoIP system also works well with the home security system and temperature monitoring alarm system I have installed at home. The security system calls my cell phone any time there is a security alert or if the in-home temperature goes above or drops below levels that I specified. I can even use the iPhone to see what is happening inside the home by watching live video from the two webcams installed there. I also plan to add a water detector that looks for burst water pipes.
More information about Google Voice is available at https://support.google.com/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115061&topic=1707989&rd=1 and at https://support.google.com/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115073&topic=1707989&ctx=topic. If interested, I also suggest you read my past articles about Google Voice, starting at http://goo.gl/Qxg0K.