Apr 27 2009
You can’t have a tech conversation about Skype without someone complaining about Skype’s closed network and proprietary protocols. Of course, it is in Skype’s best interests to restrict your calling to other Skype members to boost their user base. But does it make sense for you? Maybe not.
Gizmo Project is a soft-phone VoIP solution with add-on features, much like Skype. The difference is the open protocol. Gizmo uses SIP to allow calls from other networks. It also supports other open standards like Jabber. This “everyone can play” attitude means new possibilities in VoIP.
Chat (IM) with Google Talk users
Right now you can add your Google Talk contacts to Gizmo Project and enjoy text chat back and forth. Gizmo also supports other Jabber contacts. Even bigger news: both Google and Gizmo have committed to enabling voice calls between Gizmo Project and Gtalk.
Gizmo is working to support Google’s libjingle (an open format used in Google Talk) and Google has said that they are looking to integrate SIP support (Gizmo’s voice protocol) into Google Talk. So, whether it will be libjingle or SIP that gets you there, you can look forward to Google voice calls in the future.
Take Calls from Analog Phones Free
SIPphone, the company behind Gizmo Project has a list of free SIP gateway numbers in major cities across the US. Dial the number, enter your Gizmo SIP number and your calls will ring to Gizmo.
Gizmo has also teamed up with a company called CallWave to offer free Area775 call in numbers. You get a free Nevada area code number that will ring to your Gizmo Project client. If you want to transfer the call to a land-line or set up dual ring, you’ll pay $4 each time you answer a call on an analog phone. You can, however, set up your Area775 account to disable these features so you don’t risk spending a penny. The Area775 service is free but requires a Credit Card number.
It is also worth mentioning that Gizmo’s SIP sipport allows for free calls to other open SIP networks through peering.
Nearly a third of Gizmo Project users are Mac users. You don’t have to suffer Mac version feature lag (ahem, Skype) and won’t need an Intel processor to get full features (again, Skype, I’m looking at you). Below are some other application level features that make Gizmo great.
Map Your Chat
Okay, this is more novelty than function. But with the click of a button you can bring up a Google map connecting your geographic location with your contact.
Record Your Chat
Again, with the click of a button you can record your call to a .wav file. Now you can record call-ins to your podcast without any audio-routing utilities.
Call from Adium
Gizmo lets you chat with Jabber and Gtalk users, but what about the rest? This plug-in integrates Gizmo voice calls into Adium. Adium may be the best mutli-protocol chat client, and now you can add Gizmo to the list of your connected accounts.
This Tiger-only AppleScript allows you to use your own graphic in place of Gizmo Projects built-in avatars. This is a great tool, but hopefully Gizmo introduces this feature in an upcoming release.
It is time to hang up on your old analog phone. Gizmo Project is a great Mac friendly option with open protocols and network savvy. Your Mac is ringing, are you going to get it?