Tim would like to make free calls online. How can he do that? Leo recommends Google Voice. He can call the US, Mexico and Canada for free, and other international calls are about $0.02 a minute. There is no such thing as free service from a phone company, but he can get LifeLine service for under $10 a month.
Tom got rid of his landline in favor of a TracFone. Now he wants to use Google Voice and port his number over, but it won't work. Leo says Google voice can't port a landline, and that's what it originally was. It's better to let Google Voice generate a phone number for him and then have Google Voice forward the calls to his TracFone number. It will continue to work, and he'll avoid the hassle.
Cynthia has an iPhone and loves the visual voicemail feature, but her deaf friend doesn't have it and could use it. Leo says she should check with her carrier and see if they offer visual voicemail as an extra charge. The other option is to sign her up for Google Voice. It's free and it will give her transcriptions of voicemails. It won't be perfect, but it will be close enough to get the point.
Nathan made "the switch" from the iPhone to the Google Pixel 2. He couldn't be happier. Leo says it's a great phone. Nathan ported his number to Google Voice, and it works great on his old number. But can he make Google Voice the default messaging app? Leo says no. He can make Google Hangouts his default messenger, and it'll show up in Google Voice. It'll even work on iOS.
Phil is having issues with Google Voice, missing text messages, and voicemails. Leo says that Google has let Voice fall in quality since it bought it and may be moving away from it as a viable service. Even Hangouts isn't what it used to be. Leo used it when it was originally called Grand Central and it was great. But over the last year or so, it's really gotten hit or miss. Nowadays, Leo just uses it as a call forwarding service. But it may not be Google's fault. It may also be phone carriers who are engaging in anti-competitive behavior.
Doctor Mom says that Amazon turned on calling land lines with the Echo, much like Google Home can. She's tried it out and it's much like the Echo to Echo feature. You wake it up and then say "dial, [phone number]." But it will not call Google Voice numbers or 800 numbers. You can't hook up a Bluetooth headset, either.
Cindy wants to know if the Echo can work as an intercom all around the house. Leo says it can, but the Echo Dot requires external speakers, while the Echo has its own speaker. There's also the Echo Show, which also has video. She heard that it can make phone calls. Leo says it doesn't make phone calls, but it can make Echo to Echo calls to anyone in her network. If she wants to make phone calls, then Google Home is the way to go. It uses Google Voice.
Jane wants to know if it's WhatApp or WhatsApp. Leo says there's an "S," so it's WhatsApp. A clever way of saying "what's up?"
Jane is thinking of getting her first smart phone so she can use WhatsApp to make phone calls. Leo says that WhatsApp identifies users by their phone numbers, not their names. So when people ask to use WhatsApp to make a call, that means they want not only their phone number, but also their contact list. Facebook is doing that to cross reference contacts with Facebook contacts, but you can opt out of it when you sign up.
Doctor Mom calls in to say that Google Hangouts will send a text message to people, but not through Google Voice. So Leo says that makes it like WhatsApp, where it's app centric and can't cross into independent phone numbers via SMS.