Networking and cutting costs with Google Talk

In our tech tips this week we discuss a way for artists in one country to talk by phone over the Internet. Fans can do it too, but allow me to discuss the business aspect of Google Talk. With a simple USB phone I talk to people around the world, and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Perhaps a songwriter in Ireland or Scotland has an interview in the United States. Maybe a musician in Texas wants to perform in Sweden. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk on the phone without worrying about international cell phone rates and length of the call?

I only paid $10 (USD) for my USB phone, shown here. Then I downloaded and installed Google Talk, a free program from Google. Some of you may already use Skype and a USB phone, but Skype charges for calls. Google Talk telephone calls are made between Google Talk users. Users really see the benefits when they travel.

As I write this it is 8:30 PM on Thursday night in Missouri. In Australia it is Friday afternoon. As soon as I connect my laptop to the Internet in Australia I can call my wife from my laptop, using my USB phone and Google Talk. It costs absolutely nothing to talk for hours.

The same would apply if you go on tour in Europe. Bring your laptop and USB phone and call your family any time, for free, as long as you have an Internet connection. Most hotels furnish a connection.

Go to the Google Talk website to download Google Talk for free. The software is similar to Facebook instant messages, but with many more features. I bought my USB phone on Ebay, but they are available from many vendors. Just search to find the best value.

If you are a promoter and many of your artists are in other countries, send a business card, free USB phone, and a free thumb drive, pen drive, or memory stick with your logo on them. Put the free Google Talk software on the drive, along with your company material. After all, a first impression is a lasting impression. Your company won’t have a large international phone bill, and your clients will have a direct line to your computer or a computer designated for telephony. If you are offline or not available messages will be saved as voicemail and sent to your email.

Please note that Google Talk is a computer-to-computer service and cannot be used for dialing regular phone numbers.