If you make any long distance phone calls and are paying for them on your (landline) phone plan, I highly recommend that you get a Google Voice number. GV has a lot of features that I think are worth having but the best in my opinion is free long distance. Calls anytime, anywhere in the US won't cost you a penny.
I don't make too many long distance calls but for the few I do the fees ad up quickly. Several years ago I started asking for calling cards for birthday and Christmas gifts, so except for the few times I forgot to use the calling cards, I haven't paid for long distance. But now that we have free long distance I find I am more willing to pick up the phone and call our family/friends in Arizona for little things. It's been a lot of fun!
Using GV for long distance is a lot like using a calling card. There are a few extra buttons to push but I'm more than willing to do that to save the money. Once you have a Google Voice number set up it is easy to make a long distance call. You simply call your GV number (which is a local number) and enter a PIN. From there you can dial the number and GV will connect you.
If you have a blog you can put a widget on your blog for others to call you for free. They just enter their number in the widget box and GV will call them first and then you!
There is a lot more to Google Voice than free long distance. With a GV number you get:
- One number: a single phone number that rings all your phones
- Free SMS: send, receive & store text messages online
- Block calls: send unwanted callers straight to voicemail
- Record calls: record phone calls and store them online
- Conference calls: join several people into a single call
- Screen callers: hear who is calling before you pick up
Google Voice is free. You can request an invite here. If you request one from Google I'm not sure how long it is currently taking... maybe a week or two. Or if you know someone with a GV number already they can "invite" you. I have a couple invitations left if you would like one.