Someone was extolling the virtues of magicJack recently at a party. magicJack is the $40 gizmo you plug into any USB port. Then you plug in any conventional phone into magicJack and presto, you have land line phone for free – sort of.
I ordered a magicJack and it arrived promptly, but I never tried it. Why? Because, it was a great idea – six months ago. The relentless pace of new technology marches on.
Now, Google has come out with Call, a free service where you can dial any phone in the U.S. and Canada from Gmail. Google’s international rates can be a bit pricey or cheap – two cents a minute for Australia and 37 minutes for Algeria (Guinea Bissau was the most expensive I found at 75 cents a minute).
So I’ll stick with Google Voice or Call…it’s not clear what the name is…and Skype. I returned my magicJack for a refund…I don’t need another small piece of hardware to lose when the capability is already built into the five PCs I have.
One thing that irritated me about magicJack was how it boasted free service, but when I was ordering, magicJack was continually trying to up-sell me on expanded services and to buy other magicJacks. Somewhat ironically, magicJack’s splashy web site excerpts glowing reviews from the likes of New York Times, Boston Globe and CNBC.
“Skype and Vonage killer. Company must be watched,” gushes CNBC, the same network that gave us such horrendous stock buying advice in 2008.
Much of this praise is undated and the magicJack reviews that are dated on a separate web page are mostly from 2007-08. In any case, it’s Google Call and Skype for me.
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