Part of the equation that made going phoneless a reasonable possibility for me was the addition of Google Voice calling inside of Gmail. I have been using Google Voice for over a year, and I have been quite fond its voicemail transcription and SMS features. I can send and receive SMS messages for free from my Google Voice account, and if someone calls (and I don’t answer) their voicemails are transcribed and emailed to me!
The only missing detail, though, was the ability to make calls. But last month, Google added voice calling to Gmail. So now in addition to SMS and voicemails, I can make and receive phone calls, all from within a service I already use: email. (Okay, technically, I have to switch over to Voice to send an SMS.)
And even better, the service is free, and calls made within the US are free. So if you’re not making international calls, there is no cost whatsoever. But if you do make international calls, the rates are still pretty good.
For most people, I believe that Google Voice could, on its own, completely replace their phone service. In a future post, I’ll talk about why it’s only 80% of the equation for me, and why Skype makes up the last 20% of my plan.