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by Ray Carlson

Q. I heard I can make free telephone calls with Google – Is that correct?

A. Yes – but. One of the several programs Google offers is called Google Voice. When you sign up for this service, you select a phone number from choices they offer. Using that number, you can call any telephone number in the US or Canada for free. International calls can be made for low fees. In addition, you can connect your Google number to other numbers like your home, work and cell phones, and whichever ones you specify will ring when someone calls your Google number. You can answer the call from your computer or these specified phones and have your computer use any of these phones to make calls. You can also use the computer to send text messages to cell phones.

The “but” is that Google does not currently have any 928 numbers available, so local calls to your Google number will be long distance. You can have Google take over your current cell phone number, but then you have to get a new number from your cell phone provider. You also need to have a free Gmail email account. Google offers other extras such as recording voicemail messages for your cell phone and Google number [but not your home phone]. The recorded message and a transcribed version are sent to your Gmail inbox. You can also personalize greetings for different callers, screen calls, block callers, record calls, etc. Check the Google Voice website for details and complications.

Published: Courier 4/17/11 - Page 5C