Homeless to Get Voicemail, Via Google

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News Posted: Thu, Feb 28 2008 10:09 PM

You might find this unusual, and think it useless, but for those without the lifeline of a phone number, this is a boon.

Since the acquisition of Grand Central last year, Google has been participating in periodic Project Homeless Connect events in which it has been providing the homeless with free phone numbers and voicemail accounts that they can access from any phone. More than 4,000 phone numbers and voicemail accounts have been distributed this way, Craig Walker, a senior product manager of voice products for Google, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

On Wednesday, Google announced that it would expand Grand Central's project and partner directly with homeless shelters that will now be able to give out phone numbers and voicemail accounts and help individuals set up their accounts anytime. The idea is to expand the service, and eventually offer it in other cities, a Google spokesman said.

Besides offering a way to keep in touch with your loved ones, the obvious use for such a phone number: a way to be contacted when looking for a job.




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replied on Fri, Feb 29 2008 5:28 AM
I didnt even think of that. They could totally use it for job searches and what not. At first glance I was like why would homeless person need voicemail.
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Lev_Astov replied on Fri, Feb 29 2008 7:49 AM
This is why I love Google. They really aren't evil and seem to be looking out for others in ways that no other company does.

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Kamrooz replied on Fri, Feb 29 2008 8:36 PM

 Fantastic service! Thisis what I like to see from big corporations. It can allow homeless individuals the ability to get a job as well. I really didn't expect google to do this, surprising, but indeed a great service =D.

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The question is: how many homeless people know how to use it? Or do they have people that are trained standing by for assistance?

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vicaphit replied on Mon, Mar 3 2008 10:23 AM

Not all homeless people are stupid, some are actually pretty smart, and just happened to get themselves into bad situations.  I think that one of the main problems with homeless people is that they are thought to be worthless to society, and that makes them scared to try to go out and do something with their lives.  If they had some motivation from society they would be able to do better.

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Kamrooz replied on Mon, Mar 3 2008 10:58 AM

I agree with you Vicaphit...When I was younger and working at one of our old stores on melrose, there were quite a bit of homeless individuals that I got to know. Everytime I'd head out to the liquor store, or pick up some fast food, I'd get them a little something. They were actually quite bright individuals the ones I was speaking too. Of course, there is a large majority that tend to shoot them selves up with drugs and liquor when you give them money as well. But there are quite a few genuinely good hearted people who are homeless that just hit rough times. 

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I never meant to imply that homeless are worthless or un-intelligent.....I simply meant that the majority of them are of an older generation that wasn't brought up with technology for the most part so I question as to how many would be able to legitimately be able to use such a system.

Props for a good idea though....Yes

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