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How Useful Is Google Voice? Enough to Make Free VoIP Calls.

When I first heard of Google Voice, I had NO clue what this was all about. Nada. I slowly found out information through the various postings online, then was finally moved to make an account. But then I started thinking. How useful can Google Voice really be for someone like me? Most people I know use a phone. Not an iPhone or an Android phone, but a regular phone. Some with unlimited texting, some without. What benefits are we (or just me) getting here? If I want to make a phone call, why would I ever want to make it through Google Voice if I could just dial away on my cell phone?

But then I found out that you could send free text messages. Hooray! That’s useful. But then I realized, it’s only free if its not forwarded to your mobile device. Ok, so I disabled my phone in the gVoice settings, but now what? I’m getting free texts, but only when I have wifi. So what else can I do with this thing? I don’t have a lot of phones that I want to sync with 1 number. I don’t get too many voicemails. Nor do I have a serious need to screen calls. And I don’t change my number, so this “universal” number isn’t a big deal.

But then I found something that would make this whole deal a little more worthwhile. Free calling from a computer. As a heavy computer user, making free calls from my computer would save a whole lot of time, plus it would allow me to keep my hands free off an actual phone. Can’t use bluetooth all the time, needs some recharging, plus my phones are never around when I need it.

Here’s how:

1) Make a Google Voice account. Then head over to gizmo5.com and sign up for an account there.

2) After signing up for Gizmo, you can download the software if you so choose (I did, but you can make calls via a web browser.) Then go to my.gizmo5.com, go to the settings page, enter your gVoice number, and enable the gVoice setting.

3) Scroll down and copy your gizmo SIP number. You won’t need to ever use this number again, just copy it for now. Go back to voice.google.com and set up a new phone via the settings tab. Use the SIP number from gizmo and set the phone type to gizmo.

4) Follow the standard Google Voice procedures to enable the gizmo phone. I downloaded the software, so it was easy to use the num keypad to enter the confirmation number.

5) Now you can go to gizmocall.com to test your mic, or use the gizmo program itself.

Here’s how to place a call using the Gizmo program.

Start the Gizmo program, and log into it. Then go to the gVoice page. Place a call like normal, but use the Gizmo phone instead of your normal phone. The Gizmo program should then ring, pick up and follow the standard gVoice phone call procedure.

Do NOT place a call in the Gizmo program itself, you will be charged. Make all calls via the gVoice site. Also, any calls made to your gVoice number will ring your Gizmo program, so you can leave it open if you want to receive calls.

And that’s it! For support, contact us or go to Lifehacker.

Voltaire.