Recently, I started messing with Google Voice to try and see all the different things that could be done with it. I wondered if it was possible to make calls from a computer, through Skype. This would eliminate all of the complexities of dealing with Gizmo5’s application AND web interface. Additionally, it would let you have completely free calls to ANY phone (cellular or otherwise) in the US and Canada. As it turns out, it is as easy to use Google Talk and Skype with Google Voice. Here’s what you need to do to get Skype working as a “Phone” for Google Voice.
If you already have a Gizmo5 and Skype account, go on to the next step.
First off, you’ll need a Gizmo5 Account. Gizmo5 is similar to Google Voice, except it relies more on a local program, similar to Skype (which we’ll get to in a little bit). Setting one up is really, really easy, and totally free. You’ll just need a username, password, and email (which you should have). You shouldn’t need to download the Gizmo5 program, unless you really want to. Next, if you don’t have one yet, you’ll need a Skype account. Skype is the premiere program for video and audio chat. It also supports an IM feature, although no one really uses it (except in conjunction with a video or audio chat). Go to Skype’s website, download the skype program (make sure you select the right version for your operating system), run it, and set up an account.
Setting Up Redirection
Next, we’re going to have Gizmo5 forward all incoming calls to your Skype account. This is where things get a little interesting. Go to Gizmo5’s website, click on the “My” tab, and select the “Call Forwarding” tab. Select “Forward all calls” on the left hand side, and on the right, select “Skype” and enter your Skype username. If you’d rather use your Google Talk account (Google Talk is Google’s video chat program), then you can select that instead.
Finally, we’re going to link your Gizmo5 account with your Google Voice account. Leaving your Gizmo5 “My” page open, open a new window/tab in your web browser and go to the Google Voice website. In the upper right hand corner, click “settings”. Then select the “Phones” tab. At the bottom of the page, click the “Add another phone” link. Enter a name that will remind you that this is the Skype forwarding number (it doesn’t have to be anything specific). For a number, you’ll need an SIP number from Gizmo5. Every account gets an SIP number. To find out what your number is, go back to the Gizmo5 “My” page. On the general settings page, you’ll see a field that says “SIP,” followed by an 11 digit phone number (it’s a 10 digit number plus a 1 digit country code). Copy this number, and enter it in the “Number” section in Google Voice”. Make sure the “Phone Type” is set to “Gizmo,” and then hit “Save.” Don’t worry about advanced settings.
Google Voice will now attempt to authorize your Gizmo phone. A window will pop up with a 2 digit number and a “Connect” button. If you don’t see this, check the “Phones” tab for the Gizmo phone you just set up. You should see a message telling you to verify it, and a link that says “Verify Now.” Click this link. If you don’t see this message or your phone, then you should try to add the phone again.
Make sure your Skype program is running, and that you are logged in, and click the “connect” button in the Verify window. Google voice will now call your Gizmo5 number (the SIP number you gave it earlier). When the call reaches Gizmo5, it should automatically redirect the call to your Skype account. When Skype detects a call and starts ringing, answer it. You’ll hear some automated woman’s voice asking you to enter your two digit verification number. Make sure you have the audio chat window selected, and just press the two digits on your keypad. I wasn’t sure how to do this at first; I had tried sending it to the google voice number via an IM chat, or by trying to dial it into Skype’s on-screen number pad, neither of which worked.
If you can’t verify your Gizmo5 account with Skype, you can alternately try downloading the Gizmo5 program and running that. You’ll need to go back to your Gizmo5 “My” page and turn off call forwarding first, and then try verifying again. You’ll receive a call through Gizmo5 asking you to verify your account. After this, you’re all finished!
It turns out that Gizmo5 forwards calls to your Skype account through a service called OpenSky, which is not entirely free. If you use a call for less than 3 minutes (per call, not total), you should be fine, though. I haven’t tested to see what the results are for Google Voice, so if anyone does, let me know. Regardless, I have been able to successfully make free calls to US and Canadian home phones and cell phones. How’s that for impressiveness?