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Ribbit Mobile No Google Voice Clone

The most common reaction to the newly introduced Ribbit Mobile service is that it's a Google Voice competitor. In some ways that's true, but there are significant differences between the two. The main one is that Ribbit Mobile makes one's existing mobile number the main number, while Google Voice hangs all its services on a new number it provides. For most users, one approach will be clearly better than the other.

Using Ribbit Mobile requires setting up conditional call forwarding on the user's cellular account. That typically requires keying in a numerical code and hitting send. From then on, incoming calls to the cellular number get forwarded to Ribbit. Users can change their online settings to have Ribbit forward the calls to any number of different numbers or accounts, whether landline, cellular or even Skype or SIP services. If there's no answer on any of the forwarding lines, the calls go to Ribbit Mobile voice mail.

The service comes with a number of convenient features. Users can of course access their voice mail online, and also read speech-to-text transcriptions. They can also make calls from headset-equipped PCs using an online dialer. Such calls display the cellular number's caller ID, so it looks as if they're coming from the user's mobile phone.

The service will be most attractive to people who already live by their cell phones, which by definition means a lot of people already have their mobile numbers. Thus users won't have to give new numbers to hundreds of people the way they would if they were starting with a new number.

Another current attraction is that the "pro" version, regularly priced at $30 per month, will be free while the service is in beta. The main distinction of pro service is that it offers so-called "business-grade" transcription, which typically involves some human intervention to help with the tricky parts. After beta, only basic service will be free. For users, that means exile to the purgatory of automated transcription.


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