Tech Corner – From The Technology Committee

Free Internet calls: Are they a viable alternative to you when it comes to paying long-distance fees.?
By John Richards

If you have a house phone with only local service, most likely you are unable to justify the cost to upgrade to a plan that offers long-distance calling. Why pay for it when you can use a free service over the internet?

Google Voice is a free web-based service. A Google Voice app is also available for Android and IOS platforms, which allows one to make free phone calls over the internet to the U.S. and Canada. First, you will need an internet connection. The easiest way to get started is to create a Gmail account. If you already have one, you can download the app to your mobile device and log in. To use the web-based service on your PC, go to http://www.google.com/voice and log in. Follow the on-screen prompts for setup. Information is available on the web to help you get started placing free calls.

When you set up Google Voice, you can use your house phone to work with the app or the web-based program. You will dial the number you wish to call from the dialer in the app. Your house phone will ring, so then pick it up and talk to the party you dialed. If you should select a mobile phone, rates for the cell phone will apply. This works but defeats the purpose of free calling. If you have unlimited cell minutes, then you really don’t need to use Google Voice with that phone. If you use an Android or Apple tablet or an IPod Touch, then use your home phone with Google Voice. During setup, you can select your area code, and you will be given a phone number. When you use the Google Voice dialer to place a call and you select your house phone to be the phone you will use to speak to the party you are calling; Your Google Voice number will pop up on your caller ID when you place your outgoing call. You can talk for 3 hours, and you will then be disconnected. However, you can call back and talk for another 3 hours before you are disconnected again. For now, it is free. You never know when they will start charging or the app will be discontinued. Use it and take advantage of it while you can.

For more information on free internet calling services, go to: http://freebies.about.com/od/computerfreebies/tp/free-internet-phone-cal...