Homeless to Get Voicemail, Via Google

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.