Google To Give San Francisco's Homeless Free Phone Numbers, Voicemail

The homeless are getting a lot of play in the local news today. First there was the announcement of a resolution to commemorate San Francisco's homeless dead with human-shaped bronze sidewalk plaques, and now comes Google's ambitious plan to provide every homeless person in San Francisco with their own phone number and voicemail account that can be checked from any phone in the city. Over 4,000 voice mailboxes have already been set up under the plan, part of Project Homeless Connect:

“We are firm believers in the power of technology to improve the daily lives of individuals and communities as a whole,” said Craig Walker, a senior product manager of voice products for Google.

One question: with the near-extinction of public pay phones, where are the homeless going to check their voicemail? We may see the frequent panhandling staple: “spare some change?” replaced with “can I use your phone?”

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