VoxOx Does More Than Skype, Google Voice

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-10-30

VoxOx Is Legitimate Alternative to Skype, Google Voice

Skype and Google Voice users who want more bells and whistles for their phone communications services have a another option from TelCentris.

The startup makes VoxOx that lets users make calls from PC to PC, as well as from PCs to landlines and mobile phones, and much more. Windows and Mac user may download the applications, which is backed by the TelCentris telecommunications service platform.

Similar to Google Voice, VoxOx gives users a dedicated phone number, but VoxOx is more than the middle man routing calls to various phones -- it connects the calls from endpoint to endpoint in the U.S. and overseas, thanks to deals with 600 mobile operators.

The Web application also enables video, instant messaging and two-way text messaging, file sharing and social networking into one platform. In fact, most of these communications features are accessible pretty much from one interface, which the program's creators  describe as a "universal messaging window."

TelCentris CEO Bryan Hertz and CTO Kevin Hertz (yes, they are brothers) provided eWEEK with a quick demonstration Oct. 29, which is when the company launched Skype-like subscription plans for VoxOx.

The brothers Hertz showed eWEEK how to make a call, take a call, add video to that call, start a chat, send a text and send an instant message from the universal messaging window. Users can also send or receive a fax, and send files up to 100 megabytes, if they are so inclined. Conference calling up to 20 users (while on a call, no less) is also an option.

Like Google Voice, VoxOx also employs a personal assistant. The brothers Hertz showed eWEEK how to do this from one simple management interface, which lets users can easily set up call answers, screens and call routing based on individual preferences -- for each contact in a user's VoxOx network.

VoxOx Does More Than Skype, Google Voice

Users can designate the assistant's voice as male or female, and program it for "dead end" mode, which will return a busy signal, disconnected service message, or a custom greeting for callers they want to tune out.

Unlike Skype or Google Voice, VoxOx lets users send instant messages to other social networks, including Skype, Facebook and MySpace. Users may also send Twitter tweets and surface friends with a "hover effect," which lets them mouse over any contact to see their Facebook status updates and learn how to contact them.

The service is clearly geared for consumers, but Bryan Hertz estimates 10 to 15 percent of VoxOx' users are using it for business. Expect TelCentris carve out special plans for businesses in the future.

Despite all of those features -- and there are more as you can see here -- the application is still in beta, though in its second iteration.

Pricing: Once users download VoxOx for Windows or Mac, all inbound and all in-network (VoxOx to VoxOx) connections are free. However, similar to Skype's model, telephony-based outbound communications (such as calling, texting and faxing) cost money.

TelCentris is charging $2.45 per month to let users make unlimited calls to landlines and mobile lines in U.S. and Canada, which is 15 percent lower than Skype.

The Worldwide Unlimited Calling Plan is $12.95 per month, which covers calls landlines in nearly 60 countries as well as a subset of international mobile phone lines.

The U.S. & Canada Unlimited Texting Plan is $4.95 per month, spanning two-way texting to the U.S. and Canada. The Worldwide Unlimited Texting Plan costs $9.95 per month for two-way texting.

VoxOx can also be purchased on a pay-as-as-you-call basis for pennies per minute.

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