Landlines are still a thing, apparently, but Google just introduced a service that aims to bring them up to date.
Google is getting into the home phone business, with a new service called Google Fiber Phone. It's part of the company's Fiber brand that consists of broadband internet and cable television. By adding a phone service, it's essentially offering a triple-play package, which makes Google look like a modern-day cable provider, though we doubt it would like that comparison.
Google Fiber Phone: What is it?
Google Fiber Phone is actually very similar to Google's mobile Fi service.
You get unlimited local and nationwide calls, international calls (at rates that match what Google Voice charges), caller ID, call waiting, 911 service, voicemail transcription, privacy controls (like spam filtering, call screening, do-not-disturb), and the ability to answer calls from mobile devices.
You can even keep your existing phone number if you already have a landline service, or you can select a new one.
Google Fiber Phone: Is this a physical phone?
It's a phone service. But you will get a standalone, wireless handset, which you can use to make your calls, Engadget has reported.
That being said, your Google Fiber Phone number "lives in the cloud," according to Google's blog post, thus allowing you to forward all calls from your home phone landline to your mobile device. In other words: you can be in your car or out and about, and then you can use your own smartphone or tablet to answer calls that would normally go to your house phone.
Google Fiber Phone: How much is it?
Google Fiber Phone costs a flat $10 a month (not including taxes and fees and international call rates).
Google Fiber Phone: Where is it available?
Unfortunately, the service is initially only launching in a few areas in the US and US cities that already have access to Google Fiber, such as: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio. Google said it can't bring Fiber Phone to everyone at the same time, so it is doing it in phases.
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Google Fiber Phone: Want to know more?
We're in early-days territory here, so details are scarce, but the Google Fiber Phone website has all the beginner information you need to know. You can also check out Google's announcement blog post.