Cut Long Distance Spending    

Stop tossing your hard earned money down the sink with paying for long distance calls when you can use Google’s Gmail to make free long distance calls within Canada and the United States. 

Gmail originally announced this feature back in 2010 and made it free for the remainder of that year and 2011.  Google recently announced (to my delight) that they have extended free internet calling throughout 2012.

If you’re not a Gmail user, just sign up to get a free email account.  Once logged in Gmail, this feature can be found in the left sidebar in Gmail labelled "Call Phone" under the "Chat" category.  You will need to install a small app the first time you use it.  When you go to make a call, you will see a keypad to the lower right of your screen.  Enter the number and you’re set to go.

If you have an older desktop or laptop that does not have built-in microphone or speakers, these are the required accessories you will need to take use to make your calls.   

The only drawback that I’ve experienced is that the call display shows a 760 area code number from Escondido, CA, which the person you’re calling may not recognize, so your call may be ignored.But if you give our clients a heads up, this doesn’t end up being a huge deal.

Many people may confuse this as Google Voice (GV). This is not GV. Unfortunately, GV is currently only available to Gmail users in the United States. 

What makes GV unique is that it assigns one phone number that can access all your phones, i.e. work, home, mobile.  It can ring on all your phones or if you prefer, only ring to a specific phone of your choosing during specified periods of time.  For example, ring to only your office phone if a call comes in between 9-6pm Monday-Friday and then to your home phone after 7pm.  That’s a useful feature in my books.  There are many more awesome features to Google Voice  and I look forward to the day that Canada can finally have access to it.

If this sounds so great that you can’t wait for Google’s version to hit Canada, Rogers just announced a similar service called Rogers One Number. 

But I think I’ll wait for Google’s free version.