If you didn’t know what Google Voice was (forgivable since it’s not supposed to be available in this country yet), here’s a quick intro straight from the source:
Note that for Canadians this isn’t yet a viable solution for outbound calling — we’ve been able to do that from Gmail using a desktop browser for some time now.
Still interested? You’ll need a proxy server to sign up, but getting a working account is possible only because of some glitch in Google’s registration software that accepts numbers from the 403 area code in Alberta. And as luck would have it, non-Albertans can secure such a number using this free service. Note that you’ll have to forward your 403 number to a somewhere where you can actually be reached, potentially opening up that phone line to unsolicited calls.
If you’re comfortable with that the steps that follow are:
- Install FoxyProxy.
- Configure it with one of the proxies listed here.
- With your proxy enabled, go to the Google Voice registration page. Enter your 403 area code number when prompted.
- Verify and enjoy. Once you’re properly set up you’ll no longer have to use a proxy to log in.
I should point out that Google Voice, like Skype, is a service that runs on proprietary software — at least some of it purchased through the company’s acquisitions of GrandCentral and Gizmo5. There are alternative, FOSS solutions based on the session initation protocol, or SIP. I’ll be writing more about that when I figure it all out…