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The Gizmo free-call surprise, too good to be true?

Wow, the open standards Internet telephone company the Gizmo Project is offering free calls to 60 countries now.

This is serious stuff. Skype was doing something similar, but it was bought up by eBay and never had to prove it could make money. Gizmo's announcement is almost exactly the same thing as what Jajah recently announced, but Gizmo has one major advantage: You don't have to take the extra step of being on hold for about ten seconds while your fixed phone rings you back to connect the call.

Sure with Gizmo, you have to download their software (details here) and are tethered to your PC while you make the call (Jajah lets you use your cordless home phone, so you can walk around), but the direct call still gives it a leg-up. The company, barely more than a year old, is an "open standards" product, meaning it can be easily integrated with other phone platforms. For free calls, the person you are calling also has to have Gizmo's downloaded software (At Jajah, the other person has to register). But free calls. This is a race to the bottom that reminds up of 2000, when Dialpad offered free Internet calls, on the bet that if it won traffic it could make money somehow through advertising and so on. Things feel slightly saner this time, but only just!

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I live in the US and have family in the UK, so the price of international calls is a big deal for me. I've been using Jajah for a couple of weeks now and the _key_ thing about Jajah for me is that once the call is started I don't need to be at the computer and _neither_ does the person I'm calling. I can set up a call connecting my cell phone to my parents land line (in the UK) and chat away while doing other things. I've tried severeal other VOIP & video chat tools, and some dial-around services, but Jajah is by far the best experience I've had.

Admittedly, I'm trying to bridge the tech-savvy and non-tech savvy gap, but getting aging parents up to speed on Skype was too steep a hill to climb. Since Gizmo is apparently similar in that free calls are only to other Gizmo customers running the gizmo client and sitting at their computer, it doesn't help the computer-literate call the non-computer-literate.

With Jajah, I just call their phone, but it's free and no technical support is required...

fewquid on July 21, 2006 11:14 AM
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Yes, I absolutely agree with your comment. Jajah has a great operating platform; they need to now focus on making the product versatile (ability to connect a call from a customer who sent simple instructions through SMS). I am a big fan of Jajah because as a college student from Bahamas I am always looking for cheaper and convenient ways of calling home. The Skypes and the Gizmos of the world will have difficulty attracting customers to use there limited VOIP platform - the cost/time required to make a call w/ Skype (ease of use) warrants much attention from their development staff. The key is to have the total package - cheap, easy, well known, dependable, and more importantly, good quality.

Otis Joel Johnson on July 21, 2006 12:27 PM
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Yes, but I have been trying Jajah for calls in the U.S. and in the UK, and have had a few calls shut down after something like ten minutes (even after registering), so not sure if there's really a free lunch yet. Anyone else want to chime in on how Jajah foreign calls are doing?

Matt Marshall on July 21, 2006 12:58 PM
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When I first used Jajah to call the UK, I had no problems even with longer calls (45+ mins). In the past week I've had two calls dropped after 30 minutes or so...

Totally agree that triggering by SMS would be fantastic...

fewquid on July 21, 2006 8:21 PM
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This is a good service - the quality of the calls are excellent - after all the bugs are fixed, this will be a great help for small businesses or Small Customer support operations - that had to ONLY use online CHAT or email because of budget constraints -

SEARCH Engine Web on July 22, 2006 4:14 PM
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