I found out about the Gizmo Project when I really had no use for it. Gizmo is a free Voice-over-IP program using the SIP protocol, which is an open standard for VoIP. At that time I used Skype which implemented its own proprietary VoIP protocol, but even with Skype I didn’t have that many people to call. That changed when I move to Dublin and when I got a girlfriend who lives about a thousand kilometers away.
We call on Skype for an hour at least every day. We like Skype a lot, but there’s a few problems. One problems that we’ve been having since a month or two is that when the internet connection goes bad we hear a very loud buzzing sound, the only way to stop it is hang up and call again, after which it might just happen again. Second of all we really would like to record a call sometimes. There is some software to do that, but it’s not a default feature. Other than that we kind of like voice mail and you have to pay for that with Skype.
A week or two ago I got an e-mail from Gizmo saying that version 3.0 was released. On top of Gizmo SIP calls you can now also call Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger users. Cool, I thought and decided to install it again. I played with Gizmo before but had some connectivity problems. These seem to be solved now. My girlfriend and I have been calling with Gizmo a bit now and it works fine, the sound quality is just as good as Skype’s and we haven’t heard buzzing so far. Also you can easily record your conversations and leave voice mails for free (which are sent to the person by e-mail). There’s some other features such as your own ring tones, funny sounds you can play during the conversation, music playing while you put a call on hold and so on.
Another nice feature is the “All-Calls-Free” feature. When you use Gizmo regularly and so does your contact, and you or your contact sets their home numbers in their profile, you can make calls to this landline number (and in some countries also mobile number) for free.
Just like SkypeIn and SkypeOut there is also Gizmo Call In and Gizmo Call Out as you might have guessed, some prices seem the same, some are a bit more expensive than Skype, but still they are a good deal.
Another thing I really like about Gizmo is that Windows, Mac and Linux versions are more in sync. With Skype the Mac version is quite behind on the Windows version and I won’t even mention the Linux version, which looks like it’s still from 2000. About a week after Gizmo 3.0 for Windows was released there was a 3.0 for the Mac as well, which means I have all the same features as the Windows client, which is great.
Anyway, if you use VoIP and are an open standards fan (like me), I’d suggest you give Gizmo a try, it’s really pretty neat. If you want you can add me my Gizmo id is “zefhemel”, if you use some other SIP programme, my SIP number is: 1–747–666–3146
Here’s a nice list of Gizmo’s advanced features.