They might be dying out in the UK -- a poignant, elegant reminder of a time before mobile phones -- but Google is taking red telephone boxes across the Atlantic.
After the integration of Google Voice into Gmail was announced, it was also revealed that the K6 (as the red telephone box is also known) would be installed in a number of US universities and airports to promote the voice over IP service.
The boxes are Google-branded and free to use, using Google Voice to make domestic phone calls. The Internet is used to carry the calls and offers other services such as voicemail transcription and SMS. Google has already tried to get a Voice app in the Apple store for mobile calling, but it wasn't approved.
Searchengineland took a video of a booth in action at the Google campus, and it seemed to work just like an ordinary phone box would -- though sadly, it didn't have an old-style dial.
You pick up the handset and a message introduces you to Google Voice. You're then prompted to dial a number, followed by the pound sign. After a 10 or 15 second pause you're transferred, due to having to dial into the Google Voice server. That was something Google was looking to speed up.
Sadly, it isn't likely Google will ever roll out these phone boxes across the world, in a fit of outrageously expensive nostalgia. Most people will only experience Google Voice in a Web-based app, rather than a vintage booth.