Saturday, August 25, 2007

Free SkypeIn + SkypeOut Equivalent

Skype has changed the life of many with their SkypeIn and SkypeOut service. At least for me, this is very true as I had depended on this service for an international relationship.

But now that I live in the U.S. and time has brought new things on the table, we can get SkypeIn and SkypeOut equivalent service for free. Maybe I should add "for now", since this is taking advantage of Google's beta program: GrandCentral. Users who sign-up (currently in private beta and requires an invite if you want to avoid long wait) will be provided a U.S. phone number, voicemail, call forwarding and "click-to-call" service. All of this is free during the beta period. There is no information on when or how they might charge this service in the future. Anyways, lets get started.

First, you need to sign up for a GrandCentral account. I recommend you get an invite to get started right away.

Next, download the Gizmo Project VoIP software and sign up for an account if you don't have one already. It's similar to Skype but uses a common SIP protocol instead of a proprietary one. Don't worry, we won't be using any of their fee based service. "Can I use Skype instead? It's already setup on my computer." I completely understand how you feel; I wished the same too. But unfortunately, Skype will do you no good here...

Now you are ready to setup the trick for the free SkypeIn + SkypeOut equivalent. Go to your profile in Gizmo. Take note of your SIP number which starts from "1747". Then, login to your GrandCentral account on the web. In the Settings page, click on "Add/Edit Number" and add the Gizmo SIP number. You are now all set!!

So, what does this do? The phone number you got with GrandCentral will serve as the SkypeIn number + voicemail. When a call is received at the GrandCentral number, it will forward the call to your Gizmo via SIP which will be free. If you are not available, GrandCentral can take voicemails. Then, you can retrieve your message via any phone or preferably the web.

What's equivalent to SkypeOut? The click-to-call feature that is. In the address book, a call button will appear next to the phone numbers. Click on it and make GrandCentral call your Gizmo. Again, this is done via SIP and is free. After you pick up the call on your Gizmo, GrandCentral will make a call to the number on your address book on the same line and you will immediately start to hear the ring tone.

This only works in the U.S. where GrandCentral is providing service but so far so good for me. I have been using this method for work and personal use and has been working great!!

So what is the future of GrandCentral and other Google services? What about Skype and Gizmo? Any good ideas using with iPhone or other mobile devices? Let me bring up this topic on another post.


Ken said...

I just can't emphasize enough. GrandCentral + Gizmo + our legacy phones, such as land line phones and/or cell phones, is so convenient.
The fact is, we still are depending on the legacy phones and especially at work. At the same time, we have Internet connection almost anywhere. Does combining the two equal to VoIP? No!
GrandCentral's approach where it makes good use of legacy phones is the real solution for putting Internet together with voice communication; at least for now.
One more thing... Do you admire iPhone's visual voicemail? Just use GC Mobile Inbox!

Jennifer said...

How do you get an invite to GrandCentral?

Hornswaggled said...

Go to Inviteshare for invites.

Marc said...

When you CALL IN to access your GrandCentral Messages, you are given the option to 'press _ to return the call' calling the phone number (that the person called from) when they left you voicemail.

Is there a way to CALL IN to remotely access your GrandCentral Address Book say, via cell phone, and initiate an OUTBOUND CALL without accessing the web?(i.e. 'click-to-call' is not an option).

Anonymous said...

Awesome, worked great.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post as for me. I'd like to read more about that topic. The only thing it would also be great to see here is some pics of any gadgets.
John Flouee
Phone Blocker