One of the topics we get asked about most often is VoIP (short for Voice over Internet Protocol), or Internet telephony. VoIP refers to any service that lets you make “phone calls” online. A lot of people have heard that you can make calls for cheap or even for free using VoIP, but they’ve got questions about how it works.
There are three main forms of internet phone call--PC to PC, PC to Phone, and Phone to Phone. In this article, we’ll explain each type, how it works, and how much it’ll cost you.
Popular VoIP provider Vonage this week introduced the Vonage Mobile application for Facebook, a free service that allows Facebook friends to make mobile calls to each other for free.
"The Vonage Mobile app for Facebook is a tangible example of our commitment to deliver extraordinary value and a better communications experience for individuals and their social networks, across broadband-enabled devices, around the world," said Marc Lefar, Chief Executive Office of Vonage Holdings Corp. "This is just the start. In the future we will expand on this service to include a wide range of integrated voice and messaging services that change the way people communicate."
The downloadable app is completely free and is available for iPhone, iPod touch, and Android devices, and coming soon for the iPad. According to Vonage, it works over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks in most countries, and only requires logging into the service one time. After that, Facebook contacts are automatically loaded and grouped by friends who can be called for free and those who can only instant message.
The ongoing and confusing saga of the iPhone App store continues. This time Apple has approved an official Vonage app with some very familiar features. The Vonage app does standard VoIP via Wi-Fi, as one would expect. However, it also works over the cellular network.
Vonage has clarified that it doesn’t use cellular data, but rather cellular voice. Calls are routed through a special Vonage number allowing very cheap international calls. Sound like anything you know of? Maybe like a little service that starts 'G', and ends with 'oogle Voice'?
Michael Tempora, senior VP of products at Vonage, said that the Vonage app does indeed work in a similar way to Google Voice when used over the cellular network. He went on to say that he saw no reason for Apple to pull the app. “We built the application in complete accordance with Apple’s rules,” he said.
This leaves only a few reasons Apple might have used to reject Google Voice while keeping Vonage. Maybe it was the address book syncing, maybe the free text messaging, or maybe just because it was from Google. Where do you stand? Will Apple yank the Vonage app? Or are they leaving it in to yank Google’s chain?