While not exactly an app, Google has launched a free service that could change the way some people use their mobile handsets to make calls. Google Voice is actually an expanded version of a service that had been launched by GrandCentral, which Google acquired about 20 months ago, and more importantly could offer competition to Skype and other communication apps being used on phones.
Google Voice further offers the option for users to route all their calls through a single number. This means that the home, work and mobile phones can essentially ring simultaneously, and notably send all voicemail to a single system. Calls can be routed to the Internet, making for free calls in the United States, and highly affordable calls internationally. Google has said that this service will be open first to existing GrandCentral customers, and in the coming weeks to the general public.
This service has the potential to really change the way calls are made, and it could be one of those things that makes the world a little smaller. It is also the type of tool that could make it just that much harder to get away from it. But if you’re like this reporter, always being in touch isn’t really a bad thing… unless you want to get away from it all.
And for those times when you do want to get away from it all, grab a book or grab your iPhone and take time to catch up on your reading. These apps will turn the iPhone and possilby iPod Touch into an iReader (I just made that up, but I’m surprised the people at Apple haven’t already launched an iReader):
Wattpad – With a partnership with Five Mobile, Wattpad has brought out its popular ebook reading and sharing application, along with an extensive library of user-generated and public domain ebooks. This app is now available for direct download on the iPhone for free. Wattpad is also a YouTube-like community for reading and sharing of ebooks on mobile devices, and this includes hundreds of thousands of novels and short stories, as well as fan fiction, jokes and more. It also adds functionality that turns the handset into a virtual book club, where anyone can read and share comments.
Classics – Don’t look for the latest Harry Potter book with this app. It is for the true literary classics, as the name suggests. Some users may complain that there isn’t any control over the book’s appearance but that’s almost like saying that you don’t like the way a first edition of Kipling’s The Jungle Book feels! This one even offers a page-turning animation for that old book experience.
Kindle for iPhone – Ideal for those who want the latest Danielle Steel novel to read on the go. This free app includes all the great features of the Amazon Kindle, although the iPhone’s smaller screen might make you grab for the reading glasses. It offers more than 240,000 titles and it is growing, so you’ll never be without something to read!