I don’t make many phone calls, but lately I’ve been on the verge of migrating my contacts over to my Google Voice phone number. The big reason I want to to do this is to to completely eliminate my text messaging fees, and with the official Google Voice app for the iPhone I’m awfully close to making the complete transition. Wouldn’t it be cool, however, if you didn’t have to use any minutes for calls made with your Google Voice account on the iPhone?
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible with a free third-party app called Talkatone. The Google Voice VoIP calling is a feature that’s tucked away in the app a bit, but in my testing I didn’t notice a difference from a normal call when talking to someone that was on a landline. This isn’t just for Google Voice users though… it can also be used to make calls to your contacts who are logged into Google Talk (assuming they are using Gmail Chat and have the video chat plugin installed). You can also go old-school and use this as an instant messenger with your Google Talk friends.
With this article I’m just focusing on the ability to call a phone using Google Voice VoIP access on Talkatone. Just follow the three simple steps below to navigate your way to VoIP bliss.
- Launch Talkatone, and login so that you get to your contacts screen. Double-tap the header labeled Contacts:
- Select the Google Voice VoIP Call option:
- Dial the number you want to call, or select the Address Book button in the upper-right corner to select someone from your iPhone contacts:
If you find that this isn’t working for you the developer says you may need to set up the Google Voice integration first:
- Login to your GMail account on Mac or PC and sign in to chat there.
- Make at least one phone call from there using the Call Phone button (you may need to accept the terms of service). If you don’t have Call Phone you may need to install Google Video chat plugin first.
- Optionally: To receive your Google Voice calls in Talkatone as VoIP you may login to your Google Voice account and click Forward to Google Chat.
Here’s a more comprehensive list of Talkatone features:
- Login using your GMail account directly to Google Servers over a secure connection.
- Portrait and Landscape modes supported.
- Voice Calls over 3G and WiFi (sorry, NO VIDEO yet, it’s on our list) with advanced codecs support, packet loss reconciliation, etc. for superior voice call quality.
- Share your location in real time with your peers.
- Unique “double-side coverflow” navigation with support of swipe gestures for quick switching between open windows.
- Supports avatars from Google Talk server and from your iPhone’s address book.
- Basic Bluetooth headset support.
- Double-tap top status bar to show the “Quick Menu”: mute message sounds, clear unread counts and place a Google Voice VoIP call.
- For U.S./Canada users: basic support for VoIP calling to/from regular phones using Google Voice account.
Not bad, and it’s all free. I did get a glimpse of some iAds in the app, but I only saw them after I had actually been connected with the person I was calling. I didn’t see any ads elsewhere in the app. Since it is free you don’t have much to lose by trying it out.
Talkatone iTunes Link