By Alok Saboo on February 22nd, 2011
One of the most common complaints against Google Voice is that it does not provide SIP support and consequently one cannot use Google Voice without losing local plan minutes. We have provided a work around to enable SIP support in Google Voice, however, that is not the most elegant method. Today, we review an app–Talkatone–that lets you use Google Voice over 3G or WiFi so that you do not have to use your local minutes. So far, this is the most elegant way that I have seen to make calls using Google Voice.
What is Talkatone?
Talkatone is an iPhone client for Google Talk and Google Voice. While there are other Google Voice clients available, such as GV Mobile Plus, VoiceCentral BlackSwan, and even Google’s own app, Talkatone has some great features, making it one of the must-have mobile VoIP (mVoIP) app for your iPhone. Talkatone allows making and receiving Google Voice calls over WiFi or 3G, thereby eliminating the need to use plan minutes to use Google Voice. Talkatone runs in the background and notifies you when there is any message (chat or text) or call for you.
For all its features, Talkatone is a FREE app (iTunes link), so go ahead and download it right away. Needless to say that you need to have Google Voice enabled in your Gmail account to use the Google Voice features. Even if you do not have Google Voice enabled, you can still use Talkatone as a Google Talk client.
For a free app, Talkatone has some great features. Let us go through some of the key features of Talkatone (version 0.9.3):
Google Voice Calling over 3G and WiFi: Whether you use Google Voice or not, you will love the voice calling feature of Talkatone. You can use the app to call your Google Talk friends or use Google Voice to make free calls to USA and Canada over WiFi and 3G without using your local minutes.
Please note that to receive calls your Google Voice calls in Talkatone, you will have to login to your Google Voice account and "Forward calls to Google Chat".
Chat with Google Talk friends: You can also chat with your Google Talk friends. You can add new friends or receive notifications when someone adds you to their friend list.
Location Sharing: Another small feature is the ability to share your location with the other person. Instead of typing out your address, you can just share your location with one click.
Background and Local notifications: Talkatone quietly runs in the background. Whenever someone sends you a message or calls you, you will get a notification right away.
The following video provides a detailed walkthrough of the app:
I am very impressed with Talkatone’s features and quality of the app. The voice quality is very good and the app does not consume inordinate bandwidth to make voice calls. The app also supports landscape mode for heavy typing.
If you have already tried Talkatone or you are using some other similar app, please share your feedback.