Google will continue to offer free US and Canada calls through its Google Voice service through 2012, according to a message that appears when a new user signs up for the service.
Google had promised to offer US-based user free calls through the end of 2011. The company usually announces its free offers using one of a number of its blogs, and in this case no such announcement has been made. But the new service message, first publicly disclosed via a user post on the slickdeals.net bargain-shopping site, appears to confirm that the popular free calling plan will continue at least another year.
US-based Google Voice users can place the free calls through a number the company’s web pages, including directly from a users Gmail page.
But many VoIP users have been taking advantage of Obihai Technology OBi110 and OBi100 analog telephone adaptors, which easily allow the use of Google Voice over a regular handset. In fact, it is the OBi’s popularity among the thousands of slickdeal.net users that likely led to the site breaking the news even before Google did.
While free calls is attracting many users to Google Voice, the service is not a full replacement to feature packed phone calling offerings from established VoIP companies, such as VoicePulse, which rely on the SIP protocol. Google voice quality, delivered using the less common XMPP protocol, while acceptable to many users, is often not on par. In addition, Google Voice does not offer E911 emergency services calling, which is offered by VoicePulse and other low-cost internet calling companies.