Sunday, November 13, 2011

Replace Land Line with Google Voice and ObiTalk

I am sure most of you, if not everyone is familiar with Vonage, MagicJack, and similar Voip providers. Voip telephone service providers are replacing the traditional land lines at a rapid pace. Where traditional land lines cost you $40-$50 a month for limited calling within 50 USA states, voip provider, Vonage offers users unlimited calling to US and 60 other countries for $24.99 a month. To beat that price Magic Jack offers $19.99 a year for unlimited calling to USA and Canada.

Apart from huge monetary savings Voip services also provide the flexibility to easily shift your land line with you when you change apartment or house. Simply unplug the voip adapter from your current home and plug it back when you get to your new home. All you need is Internet connection. You can also take the voip adapter with you to a different country and use that for calling back your friends and family in the United States.

Last year Google launched free domestic calling within the US and Canada with a small plugin – right from within Gmail. To give you some technical background (mostly irrelevant), most of the voip providers use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for voice communication, however Google uses XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). ObiTalk is the first and the only device I am aware of which supports XMPP. Hence to use the free domestic calling by Google you will need to purchase a Obitalk device. Obitalk is available on Amazon for under $50.00. Either model Obi100 or Obi110 will work. This will be a one time cost for free unlimited calling for life. (Well not life, but at least until Google keeps its service free) 

Click on read more link to a Step-By-Step guide for setting up your ObiTalk Device.

Step 1:
Firstly to configure Obitalk you will need a Google Voice number. It is easy and free. If you already have a Google Voice number you can skip to Step 8. Go to and sign in with your Gmail ID. If you don't have one you can create one. If you are afraid to use your primary account for security reasons you can create additional User ID for this purpose.
Step 2:
Once logged in you will get the following screen. Click on "I want a new number"
Step 3:
You can use different combination of numbers and letters to search your dream number.

Step 4:
Select your 4 digit pin. Try not to select your birth date as that would be a easy guess for anyone trying to hack in your account.
Step 5:
Before you can start using Google Voice you will need to add at least one forwarding number. This has to be a US number. It can be any number, cellphone, landline, vonage, magicjack, etc.
Step 6:
Google Voice will call the number you mentioned in the previous step to validate that the number belongs to you. Answer the phone and enter the two digit code displayed on your screen.
Step 7:
Google Voice Setup complete. Once Google Voice validates the code you entered on your phone it will show you the confirmation screen. Click on Finish.
Step 8:
On the same page click on the settings icon on the top right corner and select Voice Settings.
Step 9:
Under the Phones Tab you will see "Google Chat" and any other phones you might have added as forwarding phones. Make Sure "Google Chat" is Checked.
Step 10: (Optional)
There are several other features of Google Voice like Call Screening, and which number to show on incoming calls, etc. You can set these options as per your liking. I would recommend turning of Call Screening so that you don't have to press 1 to accept incoming calls, but again that is up to your personal preference.
Step 11:
Now you are all set to go ahead and configure your Obitalk device. Go to Fill in the registration fields. Email address does not need to match your Google Voice email account, but I would recommend to use the same email address to make things simpler.
Step 12:
You will need to click the link sent to your email by ObiTalk to confirm your email address.
Step 13:
Once you have verified your email address, go back to and login using the email address and password used during registration.
Step 14:
Assuming you have already received your ObiTalk device and it is connected to the internet. Click on Add Devices and then click on Next.

Step 15:
From the Phone connected to you ObiTalk device dial **5 and the 4 digit number that is shown on your screen.
Step 16:
If your ObiTalk device is connected to the internet and you followed all steps correctly you should get the following screen. If you are not getting the confirmation screen more than likely your ObiTalk device is not connected to the internet. Please check the connection and try again. Once you get the confirmation screen go ahead and click on "Confirm"
Step 17:
We are almost done there now. On the next screen you will need to provide your device with a name (helpful so that can differentiate devices when you add more than one), pin, etc. But most importantly you will enter your Google Voice credentials. You can use up to two different Google Voice accounts on each device. Click on "Google Voice Setup".
Step 18:
If you want to use 7 digit dialing for USA and Canada you can enter the area code (eg 212) or keep this box blank. Enter your Gmail Username and Password that were used in Step1 and click Submit.
Step 19:
Congratulations. Your Obitalk is now configured with your Google Voice Account and ready to make and receive calls. On the Obi Dashboard now you should be able to see "Obi110" or whatever you named the device on Step17 and should have a green symbol next to it. Receiving calls is free regardless of who is calling and from which country. Calls to USA and Canada are free, however if you need to make calls outside of USA and Canada you can add money to your Google Voice account. Google Voice rates are very competitive. For Example, Calling to Land Line in Germany, France, UK, etc is 2 cents. You can look up their rates here.

Like any other Voip Provider you can easily take your ObiTalk device with you when you switch homes, or you can also gift it your loved ones across the ocean.

I hope you found this guide useful in setting up your ObiTalk device.

Source: Images courtesy of ObiTalk


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