Google just launched a landline phone service
Do you even use your landline phone at home anymore? The meteoric rise of the mobile phone seems to have lay waste to any claim the landline phone might have. It’s the redundant teddy that you just can’t throw away because you might need it on a rare occasion. All this considered, it seems strange Google have just launched one (as reported by Mashable)…
The company typically likes to stand on the bleeding edge of technology (think self-driving cars and multi-modal drones), but today it’s looking back at the venerable landline. Google is launching Fiber Phone, a new service tied to its Fiber Internet service, which it has slowly rolled out in the U.S. over the past few years.
Fiber Phone is basically landline service for Google Fiber customers. It costs an extra $10 a month on top of the $70 (gigabit Internet only) or $120 (gigabit Internet + TV) services that Fiber offers, which gives you unlimited local and nationwide calling.
International calls cost the same as Google Voice. Expected landline features like call waiting, caller ID and 911 all work on Fiber Phone, and it includes the same (often questionable) voice-to-text transcriptions that Google Voice offers.
The service can work with your existing phone number, and since Fiber Phone is cloud-based, it works with the hardware you choose: landline phone, laptop, tablet or whatever. It can even ring your cellphone when you’re not home.
Google Fiber product manager John Shriver-Blake correctly points out in Google’s announcement that landlines haven’t gone away and that they still have a role to play — especially with families. Unlike other Google services, however, Fiber Phone doesn’t appear to have much in the way of a killer feature — it’s essentially Google ticking the “landline” box so it can compete more fully with cable and telco companies’ “triple play” Internet-TV-phone service packages.
Google’s landline service will roll out to residential customers in “a few areas” before rolling out to all locations with Fiber. If you have Fiber and are interested in the service, you can visit Google’s signup page.