How to Make Free Calls to Alaska and Hawaii with Google Voice

Google Voice is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service that offers advanced voicemail handling and call forwarding capabilities.  It was formerly known as Grand Central; Google bought it in July 2007 and relaunched it as Google Voice in March 2009.  Google Voice offers many useful features, including call screening and blocking (see the full list of features).  Unfortunately, as of this writing Google Voice is available only to U.S. users and by invitation only -- the above link to the features list also contains a link to apply for an invitation.  (I applied for an invitation a few months ago and it took only about 2 weeks for me to receive my invitation.)

So how does this help you get something for free or cheap online?  First of all, Google Voice is available for free, so you get the powerful voicemail and forwarding tools gratis.  The bonus is not only can you use Google Voice as a powerful voicemail and forwarding service, but you also can use it to make both domestic and international calls.  While Google Voice charges for international calls (except for calls to Canada), it does not charge for domestic calls.  Initially, domestic calls included only the lower 48 states, but as of October 7, 2009, Google announced on its Google Voice Blog that calls to Alaksa and Hawaii are free now too. Go here to read the brief announcement, which includes instructions on how to place an outgoing call with Google Voice.

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