New functionality released by both Google and TheGizmoProject bring up an interesting new possibility...completely free voip telephone service, including both inbound and outbound calls. Both of these services existed previously, but had not, until July of 2009, worked together. Here's the scoop:
Google Voice is the result of the aquisition of GrandCentral.com by Google. The service gives you, for free, a new phone number, with your choice of a wide variety of area codes. The chief benefit is that you can change the routing of this virtual number at will. You can forward calls to your Google Voice number to your cell phone, to Google's web-based voice mail, to your home phone, etc. And, you can even do tricky routing like ringing both your cell phone and office phone at the same time. You can also make outgoing calls by going to the your Google Voice homepage, and telling it to virtually connect one of your registered phones to the number you are trying to dial. The service then rings your phone, and once you pick up...rings the other end.
The service is outstanding, call quality is great, etc. The only real missing feature is using Google Voice without paying for a home phone or cell phone.
Enter the GizmoProject. Gizmo is a service that's remarkably similar to Google Voice, but used on it's own, you must pay extra for items like a phone number and outgoing calls. What it does provide is a downloadable "soft phone" that lets you make phone calls from your PC, using either a headset, or the speakers and microphone in your laptop.
So, what's new then?
In a very quiet way, over the last week or so, Google Voice and The Gizmo Project started working together, and have created two integration points that bring you the best of both worlds:
1. Google added a feature that allows you to configure a Gizmo account as a remote phone. That means someone calling your Google voice number can ring the "soft phone" on your desktop or laptop.
2. The Gizmo Project added a feature that allows outbound calls to be routed using Google Voice, which means you can make outgoing calls for free from the Gizmo PC "soft phone" application.
So, used together, you can get a phone number within your local area code that can both make and receive calls completely free, with no pre-set limits on the number of minutes used. This is the "free voip" part.
How to make Google Voice and Gizmo work together:
1. Obtain a Google Voice account. Currently, you cannot sign up instantly, but you can get on a waiting list for a free account. Go to this Google page to get on the waiting list. Rumor has it that Google is working through the waiting list pretty quickly now. The wait used to be months, but it appears to be weeks now.
2. Get yourself a GizmoProject account. Start by downloading the desktop client and then register for an account.
3. Within your Google Voice account, add your Gizmo phone. Here's Google's instructions:
To forward your Google Voice calls to a Gizmo number, first you need to identify your Gizmo SIP number. In your Gizmo client, go to my.gizmo5.com. Your SIP number is displayed below your name, and most likely starts with 747. Enter this 10-digit number as one of your phones. Here's how:
- Sign in to Google Voice.
- Go to the Settings link at the top right of the page.
- Click the Add/Edit Number link right above your phones, to the right of the page.
- Click the Phones tab.
- Click Add a new number.
- Select Gizmo in the Phone Type drop-down menu.
- Enter your SIP number without 1.
- Enter a name for that phone, if you want.
- Click Save.
Please note that in order to use Gizmo as number to forward to with Google Voice, we require that at least one additional phone number you're forwarding to must be a verified US phone number. This requirement is to maintain the level of quality and security we believe is important for the Google Voice service.
On that last note, where they require at least one additional phone number, keep in mind that you only need the other phone number to "activate" the service. Once it's working, you can configure Google to never forward calls to that number. So, if you want GoogleVoice to stay associated only with Gizmo, that's not an issue.
4. Go to my.gizmo.com, login with the account information from step #2, and edit the following setting:
A little involved, but you now a phone that costs you nothing for incoming calls, nothing for outbound calls to the U.S., and works everywhere that you and your laptop go. See www.gizmovoice.com for more information.
Other related articles and areas of the site:
- Our article with more information on low-cost VOIP: Compare Voip Providers
- The general Home Phone and VOIP section of the site.