For all the work that GOGII has put into their free textPlus messaging app, they have spent much of the last two or so years letting users do essentially one thing: communicate via text. As of today, that’s no longer the case: with the launch of their Free Calls app, GOGII’s trying to stake their claim in the voice space too.
Sure, GOGII tested the waters with the textPlus’s Voice Note functionality, but the Free Calls app takes that concept and runs with it. Current users will find no reason to fret: they can stick with their existing textPlus phone numbers while new users will get a U.S. phone number of their very own.
Once everything is set up, users can make calls to cell and landline numbers using either WiFi or their phone’s data connection. The app comes bundled with a few free trial minutes, but after that users will have to buy buckets of minutes from within the app itself.
Of course, textPlus has managed to pick up quite a few users since their debut in 2009, so “in-network” or textPlus to textPlus calls will be free.
And that’s not all the the folks at GOGII have to celebrate — they tell us that textPlus has just recently tip-toed over the 20 billion messages sent milestone. Astute readers may remember that it took the company nearly 2 years to hit the 10 billion message mark, so there’s little question that the free messaging service is picking up steam.
The voice shift seems like a pretty drastic one for the company, but it’s not exactly unprecedented for players in the messaging space to branch out into voice service. In fact, competition is getting pretty fierce: Pinger’s Textfree has similar voice call functionality, and big players like Skype have been combining voice and messaging service on mobile devices for a while now.
For now, textPlus’s new calling functionality is limited to devices of the Apple persuasion, but an Android-friendly version of the app should be out before the end of the year.[gallery]