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Old 12-01-2010, 18:03   #1
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Google Voice

If you haven't seen it, consider Google Voice for your US cruising telephone and SMS communications. (Skype still rules outside the US. Presumably Google will bring Google Voice to more countries)

You get a free US telephone number from Google (you can choose from a long list of available numbers in just about every area code)

When someone calls this number, it will forward to a US number of your choosing. It can even ring more than one phone at the same time. You can change the forwarding phone numbers online or even have it forward to different phones based on who is calling or the time of day. This makes it possible to switch between cell phones, landlines, local marina lines...anything without telling people different phone numbers.

If the phone isn't answered, Google acts like an answering machine except that it will both save the audio and send you an email of speech to text conversion of the message. It's not a perfect transcription, but plenty to decide if you care to listen to the message.

You can play the audio of a voicemail message by either calling your phone number or clicking on the message on your computer and listening to it on your computer speakers.

It will forward SMS text messages like phone calls and also turns the SMS into an email messages..

This means that one check of your email also checks voice mail and text messages.

All free.

You have to ask for an invitation - that seems to come in a few days:

I love it.

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Old 12-01-2010, 19:05   #2
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA, USA
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This is what we use too, and it's great. Note that ours is integrated with Gizmo5, but you can't get a new account on Gizmo5 currently, as Google bought them recently and disabled account creation for now - I expect they will fully integrate the two systems at some point.

Google Voice is great! When we aren't available, it's a voicemail box that's always there so friends+family can always leave a message. We can forward to to any phone, so when that's the best option, we can set that up. When we have good high-speed internet aboard, I have a SIP device we use (via Gizmo5 and a standard telephone). When we have good internet elsewhere, the Gizmo5 client on the laptop or netbook works great (similar to Skype). In all cases it's the same phone number everywhere.
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Old 13-01-2010, 11:47   #3
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I have this built into my T-mobile MyTouch phone running android. I like it and it generally works well. I like being able to send and receive SMS messages from my laptop when I am online and having everything available on my phone when I'm not online.
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