Google Voice alternatives

Google Voice
Google Voice is an alternative telecommunications service. The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google's e-mail service, Gmail. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide between users of the Google Voice and Video Chat browser plugin
Google Voice alternatives are:
Skype, Google Hangouts, Vonage

Here are the latest news about Google Voice:

24.01.17 Google Voice gets group chat and other new features

Google has launched a refreshed version of its VoIP calling service Google Voice on mobile and the web. Largely, the update is about giving the product a more modern look-and-feel, after having not received a major upgrade in years. But the relaunch also includes a few new features, like support for photo-sharing, group conversations, Spanish-language voicemail transcription, and more. In the new app, the Google Voice inbox has separate tabs for your text messages, calls and voicemail, explains Google in its blog post about the update. Your conversations will now stay in one continuous thread, which makes it easier to keep up with the messages from your contacts in a single place.

2011 Google adds phone conferencing to Hangouts

What was the Skype's killer feature that made it super-popular? Video calling. And on what Skype is making money? On IP-telephony. Google wasn't able to repeat the same trick with GTalk/GMail/Google Voice. Because people got used to Skype already. But maybe Google will succeed with the rapidly growing group video chat Google Hangouts. That's what Google is going to do - integrate Hangouts with IP-telephony. The new tool in Google Hangouts already allows to call landlines and mobile phones and connect people that are not currently by a computer to the online meeting. This is especially important for business meetings when you need to connect client or partner to your meeting. However, meanwhile these external calls work only in the United States and Canada (and work for free). But it's no doubt that soon it will become available in other countries via paid Google Voice calls.

2011 GMail VoIP is available almost globally

VoIP-service in GMail, which was earlier available only in the U.S. and Canada, has appeared in the user accounts in almost all countries of the world - in 38 languages. Here is the list of countries where Gmail Call Phone is NOT currently available: Argentina, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iran , Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam. With this global intervention, Google has lowered its VoIP rates, making them slightly cheaper than rates of its new main rival - Skype. For example, a call to France costs 8 cents (vs. 16.9 cents in Skype), to USA - 1 (vs. 1.9). As before GMail Call Phone requires quick browser plug-in installation - the same plug-in that is used for video calling in GMail.

2010 Google added 60 more services to Google Apps

As promised, Google has added the consumer services (that were previously only available for individual users) to the Google Apps suite. Last week they added Google Voice (for US and Canada users only) and today - allowed to add any of 60 Google services. Account administrator can select which services to add and which - not. Moreover, the administrator can define which users or groups will have access to each service. For example, for marketing staff he can add Adwords (for advertising), Google Analytics (for monitoring site stats), Blogger and YouTube (for corporate blog and video blog), and for IT professionals - Google App Engine (for developing business applications). Also potentially useful for business may be Google Reader (as an enterprise RSS reader) and Picasa (for intranet galleries). The opportunity to add new services is also available in the free version of Google Apps.

2010 GMail = Unified Communications client

Gmail Phone
Few days ago the analytical company Frost & Sullivan stated that Google will soon storm the unified communications market, which is dominated by Cisco, Avaya and Microsoft. After all, Google has GMail, Google Voice, GTalk, Buzz, Gizmo5, Android, GISP and it remains just to combine all these technologies into single offering. And Google has decided to immediately confirm this forecast - from today GMail allows you to make and receive phone calls (thanks to the integration with Google Voice and Gizmo5). Meanwhile the VoIP service in GMail is available only in US.

To turn your GMail inbox into the web phone, you need to install the browser plugin - the same that is used for voice and video chat in GMail. To make a call you need to open the numpad and dial a number. The rates are not revolutionary - the same as in Gizmo5. The same applies to the call quality. Payment are taken from the Google Voice account.

Google Talk GMail
Then you can redirect your Google Voice number to your email address in GMail. When somebody calls - the popup window appears in GMail and you can answer the call, ignore or screen it. Last year Google also enabled sending voicemail and SMS from Google Voice to GMail inbox.

With the appearance of the VoIP feature in GMail most experts again started predicting that Google will kill Skype. However, the same forecasts we heard when the videochat in GMail launched - but nothing had happened. So, history will tell, if the combination of email and telephony is so good. Earlier Skype's CEO, Jonathan Christensen told that "without chat, status and video Skype's VoIP wouldn't cost anything." May be, adding mail and global contacts to this mix will become the new killer-feature.

2010 Google Voice hacked iPhone by means of HTML5

2009 Google acquired Gizmo5

2009 BT unveils Google Voice alternative, develops voice platform for SaaS