I remember splurging and getting a second landline in our SF apartment about fifteen years ago.
I was working in Palo Alto so sometimes I would work at home in the morning hours to avoid traffic on the 101. And I wanted to have a different line than the one I had been sharing with Lauren.
We kept that second line until we moved to Boston. At that time, we ditched the 2nd line and just used our mobile phones fill that need.
But this solution has had issues. For one, there are parts of our house that are dead or unreliable. I tried AT&T’s microcell but it didn’t work for me.
I didn’t want to get another land line though. To me that always felt like going backwards.
I followed Fred’s post about SIP phones and VOIP with great interest and came close to putting in that system in our house but I never got around to it. I also was hesitant to have yet another phone number in my life to give to friends & colleagues.
Then a few weeks ago, Google Voice made it inside of Gmail. I had already been a big Google Voice user since I’m often carrying around multiple mobile phones. But Google Voice on my Mac is a game changer for me. It’s better than Skype because now when I make a call from GV on the Mac the Caller ID is correct & useful. Plus I can initiate or respond to SMS in the browser which is dreamy. I also use the Google Voice Chrome extension which allows me the ability to click on a phone number in the browser and initiate a call.
Now when people call my GV number, my mobile phone rings and the iMac in my home office and my office rings too. My friend Stu suggested this Logitech USB headset and it’s very good. Fits well and the audio quality is excellent. I bought one for my home office and at work.
I’m told I can transfer a GV call from my mobile phone to my desktop but I haven’t tried that one yet.
I’m happy with my Google phone system. So far, I can think of three things that could be better:
-I can’t figure out how to do 3 way calling with Google Voice
-can’t do MMS on Google Voice (ie if someone sends me a MMS they don’t get an error message and I don’t get receive anything)
-there isn’t a google voice app for iphone.
But those are worthwhile trade-offs.
At some point, we will get rid of the landline at the house or just keep it for emergencies. And my office landline will probably follow suit.