by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 29th 2008 1:38am
Google got a bunch of press earlier this week for giving out "free voicemail accounts" to the homeless. I tried to ignore the story, but it keeps getting written about, and it seemed like there were a few points worth making. First of all, this concept isn't new. Almost five years ago, we wrote about Cisco doing the same thing. There's a whole organization, called Community Voicemail, that has done this for years. But, an even more important point: Google's GrandCentral service is already free. For anyone. Whether you have a home or not. So, offering it for free to the homeless isn't anything special. In fact, it would really only seem newsworthy if, for some reason, the company were not offering accounts to the homeless. So, yes, basically, this is a story about how Google is offering its already free service to the homeless, even though the homeless have already had free voicemail offerings for years. Next thing you know, we're going to see a press release about how the homeless can now use search engines for free too... Plus, I hear that the homeless can get free Gmail accounts!
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