Think you can save extra money with the new Google Voice Chat (calls via the internet using Gmail)?
First you need to make sure that you have the voice service feature. This is easily set up with a quick click or two.
Go into your Gmail account and look at the chat box below. If you don’t have a call feature automatically popped up, just look at the chat section highlighted and click on the drop down arrow.
This will push you through to a screen to set up your Google Voice plugin. It’s just one click and it installs automatically. After it’s done, just close out and restart your browser. This is what it looks like below.
Next go back into your Gmail account and you should be able to see the box below. It does take some time to populate so keep checking back if you don’t see it immediately.
You simply just need to click try it now. It will put you through to the screen below. Now here is the important part. Google Voice Chat (Call) is NOT FREE. They do charge for international calls. Only calls to the United States and Canada are supposedly free. You can check their international rate here.
Note the area that I highlighted below of the call box. PAY EXTREMELY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS AREA. Before you choose to dial the number, make sure that it says free or whatever rate that you’ve agreed to. Google is charging money for calls within the United States.
As a test, I called my sister on her cell phone. She happened to be 2 miles away at her house. Google charged me $.10 for the 20 seconds that I used to test the service. This is the equivalence of calling a Mexico land line. I also called a friend in Canada and that call was free. The voice quality was decent.
This is how I will be integrating Google into my current phone usage.
1) Texting on cell phone. Can’t save me money there. I do have a cell phone (IPhone) that I use for business purposes. I was forced to put a texting service on it recently because the kids texted me so much that the per text charges finally exceeded the monthly service cost. I can’t seem to get them to answer the phone but they will sit there and text for 40 minutes to me instead of talking for 5 minutes and get it done. Google Voice Chat with the texting option isn’t going to help since I get charged just for receiving text. So the unlimited text service has to stay. Savings = $0
2) For international business and personal calls, I use Skype and it doesn’t cost me anything. If I need to do a conference call, both international and domestic, I have a personal service that I had paid a one time lifetime fee for. There are also other free options out there that you can use. I happen to use both depending upon the ability of the other person on how to use the computer. Savings = $0
3) Cut down on the minutes that I pay on business phone charge. This is a possibility. When I’m in the office, I use my business phone in order to record phone call status. We also pay a flat fee for monthly usage. Savings = $0
4) Cut down my landline phone cost as I’m sitting at home on the computer. I haven’t had a phone land line in years so there is no cost to cut. Savings = $0
5) Cut down on my cell phone monthly charge. This is a possibility if I was not already watching my behaviors and had set my phone charge at the level of usage that I need. I use my cell phone when I’m out on the road traveling so unless I can access Google Voice Chat via my IPhone, it’s a moot point. I have a flat fee for my phone internet service. One possible option is to use my IPad to dial while I’m out on the road. However, I don’t know that Google Voice Chat works on an IPad. We will test and let you know. Savings = unknown but estimated to be small. Convenience versus $10/month? Not a good tradeoff.
6) Savings on calls to Canada. This is the only area where I anticipate saving money from making stupid mistakes. I have a lot of friends in Canada and I talk to them only on Skype. The last time I forgot and called direct on my cell phone, the bill was an extra $200 for an hour of conversation. I learned pretty fast with that sort of mistakes. Google Voice Chat would give me flexibility to call them on their cell phone when I happen to be online instead of waiting and coordinating with them for when both of us are online at the same time and can use Skype. Savings = $0 but convenience is very attractive.
In conclusion, the new Google Voice Chat is a cool feature and it will be integrated into my life as an added convenience but it won’t rock my world or make a significant difference in saving me money.
Readers, how do you think Google Voice Chat will work for you? Will you be able to save money just from using it?
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