18 Stories

Facebook Rolls Out Free Phone Calls

They're available via iPhone's Messenger app

(Newser) - Facebook is quietly rolling out a new feature that could fundamentally change the way you make calls. A free call button has appeared in Facebook's Messenger app for iPhone, allowing users to place a call over Wi-Fi or their cellular data network to their friends, the Verge reports. Facebook... More »

Facebook Considering Buying Skype

Meanwhile, Google holds talks with Skype for joint venture

(Newser) - Skype is suddenly the prettiest girl in school now that it’s pushed back its IPO. Google is in talks for a joint venture with the online calling company, and Facebook is considering buying it outright, sources tell Reuters . Skype is expected to rake in about $1 billion if it... More »

Calls Made Via Gmail: 'Loud and Mostly Clear'

Also, the real target is Facebook, not Skype

(Newser) - With Google rolling out an initiative to allow Gmail users to make and receive calls , Jessica Dolcourt of CNET decided to give it a spin and found that it was ... pretty good. "We were pleased with the call quality, overall, which we tested with other US callers using landlines... More »

As-Seen-on-TV MagicJack Actually Works as Advertised

Walter Mossberg says super-cheap phone service worth a try

(Newser) - Walter Mossberg is as surprised as anyone to say it, but MagicJack actually works. If you haven’t seen its frequent, hard-sell TV ads, the little USB device hooks your computer to a traditional phone, allowing you to make unlimited calls over the Internet at a nigh-unbelievable rate. The first... More »

Secret Google Phone Is Real—Really

It's rumored to be a VoIP-only device made by Samsung or LG

(Newser) - The “Google Phone” is real—no matter what Google has said—it’s coming next year, and it may be VoIP only. Or at least, that’s the rumor. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch says he’s “absolutely confirmed” the phone’s existence. Google will be have another company... More »

Rejection of Google iPhone App Sets Dumb Precedent

(Newser) - Apple has rejected Google’s application to distribute its Voice application through the App Store, and that shows that Apple is dead-set against innovation, Adam Pash writes on Lifehacker. The official line is that Google Voice “duplicates features already on the iPhone—namely the Phone and Messages app,”... More »

Skype Guys Trying to Buy It Back From eBay

(Newser) - The European wunderkinds who gave the world Skype have been approaching private equity firms in an attempt to buy their creation back from eBay, the New York Times reports. Niklas Zennstrom of Sweden and Janus Friis of Denmark sold the Internet phone service for $2.6 billion in 2005, but... More »

Skype Expands to iPhone, iPod Tomorrow

Internet phone service plans May Blackberry launch

(Newser) - Skype is launching service for the iPhone tomorrow, expanding its popular internet phone operation from computers to the lucrative mobile market. Users of iPhones as well as iPod Touches—which have wifi but no cell connection—will be able to make free calls to fellow Skype users and pay for... More »

Skype Rolls Out New Biz Service

Internet calling company aims to boost revenue

(Newser) - Internet calling company Skype is introducing new software for businesses that lets workers on corporate phone systems make calls using regular office phones instead of computer headsets, the Wall Street Journal reports. Domestic and international calls to cellphones and landlines will start at 2.1 cents a minute, and computer-... More »

Google Voice Buggy but Brilliant

Impressive new VoIP service could soon sideline Skype

(Newser) - Google's new VoIP service could be more of a "life-changing experience" than a mere Skype substitute, Larry Magid writes in CNET. Google Voice—currently only available to former GrandCentral users but expected to soon cause sleepless nights for the whole telecom industry—offers users a single number to which... More »

911 Centers Easy Targets for Pranksters

Services not updated to handle fake caller ID

(Newser) - Using VoIP Internet-calling services, pranksters are easily duping outdated 911 call centers to disastrous consequences, Ars Technica reports. Using easy-access online services, callers can cover up their real locations, make up stories, and mobilize emergency teams anywhere. Updating call-center systems could fix the problem, but most such places can’t... More »

Technology the Linchpin in Mumbai Attacks

They used GPS and satellite maps, phones

(Newser) - The Mumbai terrorists relied on advanced technology to carry out their attacks, and Indian security forces had trouble keeping up, the Washington Post reports. GPS devices enabled the non-sailors to get to Mumbai; satellite maps gave them "a good feel for the city's streets and buildings," said a... More »

UK: Web Phone Service Gives Criminals Edge

Authorities want to expand their online snooping powers

(Newser) - Criminals and terrorists are using VoIP services like Skype to evade law enforcement, sources tell the Times of London, and officials are lobbying for increased access. Police often rely on phone records as evidence, but online calls often leave no trace. “Communications data forms an important element of prosecution... More »

Eavesdropping on Internet Calls Is Easy

Researchers find potential encryption security problems

(Newser) - Not only are most Internet phone calls not encrypted, but a bandwidth-saving technique could undermine encryption once it’s implemented. Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that a compression method called variable-bit-rate encoding makes it possible for eavesdroppers to identify given phrases in an encrypted VoIP call 50% of the time,... More »

Consumers Giving Up Landlines

One-sixth of US households are now wireless

(Newser) - Mobile and Internet-based phones are replacing landline phones in US households as younger Americans lead a movement to newer technologies, reports USA Today. The number of homes depending on wireless phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. Nearly 35% of people 25-29 years old lived in wireless-only households in the... More »

T-Mobile Launching Net Phone Price War

New plan follows hard on news of wireless price war

(Newser) - T-Mobile is giving an extra push to the millions contemplating ditching their landlines. The low-cost wireless carrier is launching a new dirt-cheap VoIP service, which lets T-Mobile customers hook up traditional phones to an Internet router and make unlimited local and long distance calls for $10 a month, the Wall ... More »

Skype Blames Crash on Windows

Millions of updates, reboots fried VOIP service, company says

(Newser) - Skype's mysterious failure last week was caused by a routine Windows update, the company says. Millions of users downloaded the new software, rebooted their computers, and tried to log into Skype at the same time, crashing the net phone service, PC World reports. It's still unclear why previous Windows updates... More »

Google's Got Your Number

Giant buys company that consolidates all your phones, voicemail accounts

(Newser) - Google extended its recent buying spree by snatching up a cutting-edge internet service that consolidates consumers' phone numbers and provides unified voicemail access via a single web account. The acquisition of GrandCentral Communications is expected to lead to Google's own online phone service to rival Skype and Vonage, reports PC ... More »

18 Stories