Inside Google's Mysterious Voice Pods, Five Are Ready For Action (TCTV)

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This morning, Google officially unveiled its Voice/Gmail integration, which will allow users to make Google Voice calls from the browser. It’s a pretty nifty service that is gaining traction in the TechCrunch SF newsroom. Another product we’re eyeing? That shiny London-esque phone booth with the “vintage” 1957  phone that makes free domestic and long distance Google voice calls.

Of course, as the Google Voice team explained this morning, the kitschy phone booth is not available for purchase but the company will be installing these functional billboards at several universities and airports later this fall.

I dropped by Google’s SF office to get a full tour from Jason Toff, the product marketing manager for Google Voice who spearheaded the phone booth project. (See video tour above). According to Toff, Google has already manufactured five phone booths and is zeroing in on several high-trafficked venues. No contracts have been finalized yet but he expects Arizona State University will be one of the first (with its student body of 54,000 strong).

The booth itself is bare bones. The exterior is comprised of a sturdy metal frame that is designed to be less vulnerable to phone-booth-tipping (logical for college campuses). Meanwhile, the phone itself is designed to look like a 1950s throwback, with futile coin slots and a rotary formation for the keypad. There are some hidden surprises, the interior light is run by a solar power panel (assuming it’s available outside) and calls will time out at 20 minutes to discourage phone hogs.

Free Goog-wear alert: Google has also given us 7 Voice T-shirts for readers who have always wanted to look like a living, breathing Google icon. We have several tees in size M and L. Give me a good reason to send you one in the comments section (be sure to use your real e-mail address) and we’ll ship them off.

Comments showdown is over. The 7 winners have been notified — thanks for your participation, wish I had more t-shirts for your heartwarming, amusing, strange comments.

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