Hello!  Google Calling

by Faz and caphrim007

GrandCentral, now known as Google Voice (google.com/voice) is, like all Google services, a beta offering that was available through invitation only, though it appears the service will become more public in the near future.

With Google Voice, you can choose a phone number and then link all of your phones to this main number to help maintain your privacy (by not giving out your personal phone numbers) and to promote a "follow my phone" type offering.

By linking your phone numbers to the selected Google Voice phone number, anyone calling your Google Voice number will automatically ring all of your linked phones.  You can link your home phone, cell phone, pay-as-you-go phone, work phone, girlfriend's phone, and pizza parlor ("Hello, Mario's Pizza.  Faz?  There is no Faz here.") to your Google Voice number via the web interface.  You can also initiate dialing from one of your linked phones in the Voice web interface to another phone number, and your Google Voice phone number will show up in the Caller ID, even though you may be talking from your cell phone.

Now comes the fun part.

There is no validation of the phone numbers you link to your Google Voice number!  That is, you simply input the phone numbers you wish to be rung when a call comes into your Google Voice number.  That's it.  Nothing more.  For outgoing dialing, you select the phone from your list, then input a number to call.  This action then rings your selected number, then rings the remote number and connects the two.  There are many opportunities here for those wishing to enhance voice communication offerings, to make free calls, or to simply have fun:

1.)  Link all your state representatives' phone numbers (be sure to include personal and cell if you have them!) to a single Google Voice number and publish to the web.  Anyone who calls the Google Voice number will automatically ring all the representatives' phones.

2.)  Link a pizza place, then place a call through Google Voice to another pizza place.  "Hello, Domino's.  Huh?  This is Pizza Hut, why are you calling me?  I didn't, you called me.  No I didn't."

3.)  Make free calls from pay phones.  It is trivial to obtain phone numbers from payphones (if you don't know how, review past issues of 2600).  Link these numbers to your Google Voice number and initiate a call between them for free.  This is great for covert meet ups.

4.)  Initiate a call between an evil hacker and the FBI.

5.)  Many Apple Stores have iPhones on display and active for calls by anyone who walks up.  Get the phone numbers, link them in your Google Voice number then publish it to the web as free Microsoft Support.  As an added bonus, initiate a call between the linked iPhones and Verizon tech support!

The drawback to the above is that you cannot listen in on the fun.  However, if you have two Google Voice accounts, you can the abuse the on-the-fly conference feature.  Simply establish a call between one of your phones and an external party (Pizza Hut), and, at the same time and using a different account, establish a call from another external party (Domino's) to your Google Voice number and conference them in while they are ringing.  You now have a 3-way conference call!

The list of potential (mis)use* is endless.  Thanks Google!

* One way that Google may be able to stop this, or at least limit the scope of misuse, is to immediately ring the phone numbers that you add to your Google Voice number and prompt you to input a security code.  This will force you to be present at the phones you list.  But, as of this writing, this is not required.