Inside The Google Voice Phone Booths

Over the coming weeks, UK-style phone booths will pop-up around the US in airports and at universities, allowing anyone to make free calls to anywhere in the world. The promotion is designed to spread awareness of the Google Voice service. Below, a look inside the booth, including a video of it in action.

Google’s actually had one of these booths on its campus in Mountain View for some time. They look like old British phone boxes. There’s double irony in that. The UK doesn’t actually use this style of phone booth any longer (you’ll still see old ones in various places, however), and Google Voice calls aren’t offered in the UK. Still, the booth is fun:

Inside, it looks like an old-style dial phone:

You pick up the handset, hear a little Google Voice greeting, then enter the number you wanted. It feels a bit weird to enter a # symbol at the end of your dialing. However, I didn’t realize this was required at first — and it worked OK.

The sound quality is very clear. The biggest issue is that you have to wait about 10 to 15 seconds for your call to be processed. That’s a switching delay that Google hopes to fix soon.

No particular airports are named, though the first university to get one of the phones will be likely be Arizona State University. How many booths? Google won’t say other than in the dozens.

Below, a video of the booth in action, where I’m talking with Google Voice product marketing manager Jason Toff:

Also see our Google Voice + Gmail = Free Voice Calls For Those In US story for more about the overall story about Google Voice getting a bit push by being integrated into Gmail.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Voice | Top News

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://silvery.com Chris Silver Smith

    It’ll be interesting to see if these attract much usage.

    Over the past seven years or so, phone companies have steadily been decommissioning phone booths across the country.

    It’s not the cost of making calls that’s reduced phone booth usage, but the ready availability of mobile phones. Will free be enough to create a come-back?

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