If you haven’t signed up for this free long-distance Call Phone service, you’re probably wasting money.
DUMB IF YOU DON’T | Whatever you pay to make long-distance telephone calls in Canada and to the U.S., if you are paying anything at all, it’s too much. Last fall Google, in what some consider a pitch aimed directly at Skype’s 560 million registered computer-to-computers callers, began offering anyone with a Gmail account the opportunity to telephone from their computer to landlines and cellular phones anywhere in North America. Google’s Call Phone plugin is dead simple to install, easy to operate and absolutely free through December 2011, so it’s silly not to take advantage of it.
How Google’s Call Phone Works
First of all, if you don’t have a Google Gmail account, sign up for one—it’s free. If Google doesn’t prompt you at signup, look for the word Chat on the left-hand side of your Gmail inbox page and then click on the words Call Phone underneath it. Follow the simple instructions and begin making calls immediately.
Google Call Phone is free to landlines and cell phones all over North America. Dialing anywhere else in the world will cost you, though you’ll be surprised by how little. I was taken aback by the rate differences between Google Call Phone and Telus. With Call Phone you can telephone anywhere in Europe for two cents a minute; Telus charges $1.34 per minute to Italy, 77 cents a minute to France and $1.18 a minute to Germany. Want to call India? Telus’s regular rate is $2.22 per minute, Call Phone just six cents.
While I can’t find a downside to this fabulous free phone service, one aspect that took getting used to was call display. When I dialed my home phone from my computer, the call display registered either an unrecognizable number from California or the words “unknown caller.” Typically when I see things like this on my call display I never pick up, and I can only imagine that some people I call may do the same. —C. Rule
To find out more about Google’s Call Phone, visit www.google.com (Photo: iStock)
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