Tag: Google

Link: 10 URLs That Every Google User Should Know

Where can you get a list of every ad that you have clicked on Google? Where should you go if you don’t remember your administrator password? What are your interests as determined by Google?

Here are 10 important links that every Google user should know about. They are tucked away, somewhere deep inside your Google dashboard.

Full article here:
10 URLs That Every Google User Should Know (Digital Inspiration)

Using YATE to overcome Google Voice issues in FreeSWITCH and Asterisk

 

Notice
(May, 2018): FreePBX and Asterisk users that wish to continue using Google Voice after Google drops XMPP support should go here: How to use Google Voice with FreePBX and Asterisk without using XMPP or buying new hardware. The information in this article is VERY outdated and probably will not work.

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

If you have been less than thrilled with the Google Voice support in another software PBX, such as Asterisk or FreeSWITCH, you could try using YATE as a Google Voice Gateway.  It can be installed on either a separate server, or on the same server as your FreeSWITCH or Asterisk installation, however if you are running virtual machines then I recommend the separate server approach.  In fact, that may be the only way to do it with FreeSWITCH if you installed FreeSWITCH under Debian or Ubuntu, since the YATE install requires CentOS.  If you are a Linux expert you may be able to get around this, but don’t ask me how.

To install YATE, see this article from Nerd Vittles:

YATE in a Flash: Rolling Your Own SIP to Google Voice Gateway for Asterisk

EDIT: You may want to upgrade YATE to the latest version.

Just follow the instructions there, and the ones that you see after running the script to add a Google Voice user, and you should be fine, if you are using Asterisk.  The only things I would suggest that are not shown in those instructions are that you set your Trunk “Maximum Channels” to 2, because a Google Voice account will only permit two simultaneous channels of usage maximum, and that if YATE is on a separate server with a static IP address then I’d suggest adding permit/deny lines to the Asterisk Trunk PEER details to enhance security, like so:

permit=xx.xx.xx.xx/255.255.255.255
deny=0.0.0.0/0.0.0.0

Make sure the lines appear in that order, and replace xx.xx.xx.xx with the static IP address of the YATE server.  This may not help much because Asterisk is registering with the YATE server, but it can’t hurt either.

Also, you might want to consider changing the context statement to

context=from-pstn-e164-us

to remove the +1 from the start of the Caller ID number on incoming calls.

The instructions don’t tell you to add a Dialed Number Manipulation Rule to your trunk configuration, but if you want to allow ten digit calls from any of your endpoints then you should add one rule that prepends 1 to 10 digit calls:

1+NXXNXXXXXX (The 1 goes in the first field, the NXXNXXXXXX in the third field)

If you are using the CallerID Superfecta module, and you use “Trunk Provided” as one of your data source, then after adding a Google Voice account to YATE I suggest editing /usr/local/etc/yate/regexroute.conf on the YATE server. You may need to install an editor first. For example, to install nano and then edit the file:

yum install nano
nano /usr/local/etc/yate/regexroute.conf

Look for the [contexts] section and there you will see a line for each of your Google Voice accounts that looks like this:

${in_line}GV1234567890=;called=GV1234567890;jingle_version=0;jingle_flags=noping;dtmfmethod=rfc2833

Just add ;callername to the end of each such line:

${in_line}GV1234567890=;called=GV1234567890;jingle_version=0;jingle_flags=noping;dtmfmethod=rfc2833;callername

This will make sure that nothing is sent for a Caller ID name, so that Caller ID Superfecta will recognize that there is no “Trunk Provided” name and attempt to do a name lookup (note that you could also use ;callername=something to set the Caller ID name to a specific value). If you want to have ;callername
automatically appended whenever you create a new account, just use an editor to edit the script you use to add users, and find the line that looks like this (it should be near the bottom of the script):

${in_line}GV’$acctphone’=;called=GV’$acctphone’;jingle_version=0;jingle_flags=noping;dtmfmethod=rfc2833

Add ;callername to the end of the line, like so:

${in_line}GV’$acctphone’=;called=GV’$acctphone’;jingle_version=0;jingle_flags=noping;dtmfmethod=rfc2833;callername

Save the modified file, and any time you add a new user it will automatically write that line with ;callername appended.

Thanks to Bill Simon for telling me about this method of sending the blank Caller ID name. Alternately, if you don’t want to mess with the YATE configuration, you could add a new Caller ID Scheme in Caller ID Superfecta that is only used with your Google Voice DID’s and that doesn’t include “Trunk Provided” as a data source.

Whether you are connecting from Asterisk or FreeSWITCH, if YATE is running on a separate server and the other system can’t register with YATE, it may be a firewall issue on the YATE server.  After I did the install I found that iptables was configured to only allow incoming ssh connections.  I modified that rule to only allow incoming ssh from a particular IP address (the one I’d be coming in from) and then added rules to permit traffic from the two servers allowed to talk to that YATE server.

EDIT: Hopefully this will not affect you if you have upgraded YATE to the latest version, but if you have a moderate number of Google Voice accounts, you may experience another issue.  If you start seeing messages like this when you telnet to YATE and then use debug on to see what is happening:

<sip:MILD> Flood detected: 20 handled events

And if every so often, the server appears to go into a semi-catatonic state, where calls come in but they don’t go out (this happened to me at least twice before I figured out what was happening), then you may have this issue.  It occurs when you have the same Asterisk server using multiple trunks to connect to YATE.  It turns out that whenever you reload Asterisk (as you might after making a configuration change, for example the “orange bar reload” in one particular GUI), it resends all of the registrations at once, and gives them all a default timeout of 120 seconds, so they all attempt to re-register at the exact same intervals.  And if you have several trunks, there are a LOT of SIP packets sent.  Plus, with qualifyfreq value set to 240, that means that every other time the registrations are taking place, qualifies are also taking place at the same time.  It appears that this is sufficient to cause that warning to appear once in a while.

The method I found that seems to fix this may not be the best way (feel free to comment if you know a better way), but it’s one way to deal with it.  What you need to do is change the registration expiration on each individual trunk so they are not all the same.  In Asterisk this can be accomplished by adding both of these settings to the trunk configuration (susbtitute nn with some random number of seconds, say between 90 and 120, and make it the same for both settings in each trunk, but different for different trunks)

In the trunk PEER details, add:

defaultexpiry=nn

In the Register String, add  ~nn  to the end of the line, replacing nn with the same value used in the defaultexpiry setting, like so:
GV1234567890:password@exampleaddress.com:5060/1234567890~nn

You might also need to vary the qualifyfreq value a bit in each trunk, so that it’s a bit under the specified 240 seconds and different for each trunk.  If doing those things doesn’t fix the issue, and you still get the <sip:MILD> Flood detected: 20 handled events message frequently, that could mean you are being subjected to an actual SIP attack.  The YATE installation includes a script with the filename /usr/src/yate/share/scripts/banbrutes.php that can be used to deal with that issue, but it’s not enabled by default.  View the banbrutes.php script in a text editor, and you’ll find instructions at the beginning of the script.  Or, you could tighten up the iptables firewall to only allow traffic from systems that are supposed to be talking to your YATE server.

END OF EDIT.

As for FusionPBX, when you create a new Google Voice account on the YATE server using the provided add-yate-user script, at the end it will give you a bunch of configuration information for Asterisk.  These translate to FusionPBX Gateway settings as follows (showing what the script prints and the equivalent FusionPBX Gateway settings):

Trunk Name: YIAF1 ; or increment 1 if more than one (in FusionPBX I suggest you don’t use this; instead use the same setting as the Username for the Gateway name, particularly if you plan on having more than one Google Voice account)

host=x.x.x.x (Proxy in FusionPBX)
username=GV1234567890 (Username in FusionPBX)
secret=password (Password in FusionPBX)
type=peer (Not needed in FusionPBX)
port=5060 (Not needed in FusionPBX)
qualify=yes (Not needed in FusionPBX)
qualifyfreq=240 (Not needed in FusionPBX)
insecure=port,invite (Not needed in FusionPBX)
context=from-trunk (Not needed in FusionPBX)

Register String: … (Not needed in FusionPBX)

In FusionPBX, set Register to True and Enabled to True, and leave other Gateway settings at the defaults (EDIT: however, if you have several gateways to YATE, you might want to use the Expire seconds setting in FusionPBX to vary the registration timeouts a bit so that all your accounts aren’t trying to re-register at exactly the same time — see the longer EDIT section above for details).  Note that after you save the settings, it may take a few seconds for the state to change to REGED, so refresh the Gateways page after a bit and it should be okay if everything is configured properly and there are no firewall issues.

For your Inbound Route in FusionPBX, just use the Trunk Name/Username as the Destination Number (including the leading “GV“, which you can also use it in the Inbound Route name field if you like) and then choose the appropriate Action. When you first create the Inbound Route it will complain if you try to save a Destination Number that is not completely numeric, so just use any number and save the settings, then go back and edit the Destination Number field and also the Data field for the destination_number condition (which should be something like ^GV1234567890$, substituting your Google Voice number for the digits, of course).

For your Outbound Route, select your Google Voice trunk as the Gateway, and then select “11 digits long distance” from the dropdown in the “Dialplan Expression” setting. Save that, and if you only have one Google Voice trunk for all users on the system, that is all you need to do.  However, if you want to have multiple Google Voice trunks and have certain extensions only have access to certain trunks, the edit the Outbound Route you just created, and in the “Conditions and Actions” section at the bottom of the page, edit the last action on the page (the “bridge” action).  You want to change the Data field – it will contain something like sofia/gateway/GV1234567890/$1 and you want to change that to sofia/gateway/${accountcode}/$1 — save that change, and then when the Outbound Route page reappears, you may want to change the name to ${accountcode}.11d and add a Description like “Google Voice: Extension Account Code = Gateway Name” so you understand what the route is doing.  This single Outbound Route will handle all your Google Voice calls from all your extensions, if the Account Code setting for each Extension is set to the name of the Gateway for the Google Voice account you want that extension to use.

Note that if you are running PBX in a Flash, you can use the “Caller ID Superfecta” module to try to get a Caller ID name.  IF YATE itself has any ability to do Caller ID name lookups, someone will have to tell me how to enable and configure it, because at this point I would have no clue.  If you know, please leave a comment!

EDIT: To keep the YATE log file from growing too large over time, copy the file /usr/src/yate/packing/yate.logrotate into /etc/logrotate.d as “yate” (get rid of the .logrotate extension).  That file instructs the system logrotate job to roll the yate log file when it gets to 100 MB.  Thanks to Bill Simon for that tip!

EDIT 2: If you have ignored the advice given almost everywhere to create a new, separate Gmail account, and then use that account when you create your Google Voice account, then you have probably run into the issue of not receiving your incoming calls when you are logged into that Google account and for some time thereafter.  That problem, and one possible fix (along with the drawbacks) were discussed in a post in the thread “YATE in a Flash 1.2 Ready” on the PBX in a Flash Forum, which unfortunately disappeared from that site due to a server crash.  The post, originally by user Marian on Aug 6, 2012, read as follows:

Gmail sets a greater resource priority when you connect and don’t advertise unavailable for a while after you disconnect.
So, if you connect to GMail using the same account as yate the calls will be sent there until GMail advertise resource unavailable.
You can set priority=10 in accfile.conf, gmail account section.
But, if you do that you might not see your chat in GMail or another jabber client connected to GMail for the same account (like GTalk or Yate Client).
Unfortunately, the jabber protocol don’t allow setting different priorities for the same resource for different services (e.g. you can’t set a priority for chat and another one for another capatibility, like jingle calls).
I didn’t found a workaround for this situation: having, for the same account, a resource for chat and another one for jingle calls.
This would require a custom jabber client or a custom jabber server.

That, coupled with information from other posts around the web, means the best advice is to add a line of the form:

priority=127

in each of your Google Voice accounts in the file accfile.conf (in the /usr/local/etc/yate directory).

If you want that line to be added by default when you add a new Google Voice account to your YATE server, open the add-yate-user script (which is probably in your /root directory) in a text editor such as nano, and find this line:

echo “options=allowplainauth” >> accfile.conf

and underneath it add this:

echo “priority=127″ >> accfile.conf

Then save the edited file.  I make no guarantees that this will actually work, but it’s worth a try. NOTE: The thread mentioned above suggested setting the priority to 10, however, the Asterisk developers are now using 25. As this wiki page explains:

More about Priorities

As many different connections to Google are possible simultaneously via different client mechanisms, it is important to understand the role of priorities in the routing of inbound calls. Proper usage of the priority setting can allow use of a Google account that is not otherwise entirely dedicated to voice services.

With priorities, the higher the setting value, the more any client using that value is preferred as a destination for inbound calls, in deference to any other client with a lower priority value. Known values of commonly used clients include the Gmail chat client, which maintains a priority of 20, and the Windows GTalk client, which uses a priority of 24. The maximum allowable value is 127. Thus, setting one’s priority option for the XMPP peer in res_xmpp.conf to a value higher than 24 will cause inbound calls to flow to Asterisk, even while one is logged into either Gmail or the Windows GTalk client.

Outbound calls are unaffected by the priority setting.

This would be true in Asterisk OR YATE, therefore the recommendation is to now use at least 25 as the priority value, up to the maximum of 127 as suggested above.

Link: Google Voice Customers Cry Out For Help, No One At Google Hears Them

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

The Consumerist is just waking up to a fact that many of us Google Voice users realized a long time ago:  There is virtually no such thing as customer support at Google Voice.  For example, they still haven’t fixed the bug that even if you disable call screening, it’s still turned on if the calls are delivered via Google Chat, and that’s been a problem for at least three or four years now.  Nor have they come up with a way to change the amount of time the call rings at the destination before Google snatches it back and sends it to Google Voice’s voicemail (approximately 25 seconds is just too short in some situations).

The Consumerist article doesn’t touch on either of those specific issues, but at least they’re beginning to understand that the complete lack of effective support at Google Voice can really be a problem:

Google Voice Customers Cry Out For Help, No One At Google Hears Them (The Consumerist via the Wayback Machine)

Yes, I know it’s a free service and some will say you get what you pay for, and I guess that will fly as long as the service remains free, but when they charge for a service (such as the number port mentioned in the article) then they should at least have an effective way to address issues and complaints about the services people have paid for (and perhaps not received)!

 

Interesting thread on integrating Speech to Text with Asterisk and PBX in a Flash

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.
An old microphone
Image via Wikipedia

I just wanted to call your attention to this thread on the PBX in a Flash forum:

Exploring Speech to Text

This thread explores the possibility of adding a simple speech to text demo, and also discusses the possibility of transcribing e-mails to text.  It uses Google’s speech recognition service, and it is free to use.  I doubt you would be free to use it in any commercial application, but for those that just like to tinker with new capabilities for your Asterisk server, you might find this interesting.

I haven’t personally tried it yet, but I will say that if you are using some FreePBX based distro other than PBX in a Flash, you may need to remove the calls to the Flite speech synthesizer (or install Flite support).  I hate Flite (I think the voice quality sucks harder than a black hole — okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but Cepstral voice synthesis is much better than Flite — unfortunately Cepstral is not free) so I’m not going to tell you how to install it.  Flite’s only used in the demo in the first post so if you are trying to do something else (such as attempt voicemail transcription, as discussed in the thread) you probably don’t need it anyway.

What would be nice would be the ability to dial a code, record a short message, and then have a transcription e-mailed to the address you use for voicemail notifications.  THAT is something I’d actually use on occasion!

EDIT: After posting this, I tried a basic installation on a NON-PBX in a Flash system.  Besides removing the references to Flite, I found I had to do the following:

  1. Change ownership of /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/speech-recog.agi to  asterisk:asterisk
  2. Install the perl modules mentioned in the “use” statements in /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/speech-recog.agi
  3. Install flac (some users may also need to install sox, but I had installed that previously).

Asterisk 1.8.x and FreePBX users: How to NOT answer Google Voice calls UNTIL the called extension answers

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

EDIT (May, 2018): FreePBX and Asterisk users that wish to continue using Google Voice after Google drops XMPP support should go here: How to use Google Voice with FreePBX and Asterisk without using XMPP or buying new hardware.

This article was originally published in December, 2010 and may contain out-of-date information.

Many folks are experimenting with Asterisk 1.8.x and Google Voice.  In most cases the way it’s set up is that when a Google Voice call arrives, Asterisk answers the call, then sends a touch-tone digit “1” to Google Voice to answer the call, then proceeds to ring the destination extension.  This is necessary because when you configure Google Voice to use a Gtalk destination, they require you to press “1” to accept the call, even if you’ve configured Google Voice not to require that.  I don’t know if this is a bug in Google Voice or if they did it that way deliberately for some reason, but answering the call and accepting it upon arrival at the PBX has a few unintended side effects:

  • If your callers pay for long distance by the minute, they get charged from the moment the called extension begins ringing – even if you never answer the call.
  • You can’t use Google Voice’s Voicemail, nor their transcription service, because you’ve already answered the call.
  • Callers may hear a confusing double ringing tone at the start of ringing — one ring from Google Voice and the rest from Asterisk.

On the other hand, there are some advantages to doing it that way:

  • Because you’ve answered the call, you can let the extension ring as long as you like before sending it to voicemail, and Google Voice won’t snatch it away in 25 seconds and send it to their voicemail.
  • You can use Asterisk’s voicemail, if that’s what you prefer.

For those who’d prefer to let Google Voice handle their voicemail, or who object to making callers pay to listen to up to 25 seconds of ringing, there is a way to not answer the call and send the touch tone “1” until  after the destination extension has actually picked up the call.  If you are using plain vanilla Asterisk, all you have to do is make sure your Dial() command contains two additional options.  Consider this example line of Asterisk dialplan:

exten => gvoicein,n,Dial(SIP/1004,35,rTWtwaD(:1))

The important part here is the aD(:1) — the other options can be whatever you’d normally use, if any, but it’s the aD(:1) that does the magic. Now at this point, if you’re a FreePBX user you may be wondering how on earth you can modify the Dial() string, since the code that generates it is buried deep within the bowels of FreePBX. Fortunately, there is a way. Consider the following piece of code that might be used in extensions_custom.conf to bring in Google Voice calls:

[googlein]
exten => _[0-9a-z].,1,Noop(Incoming Google Voice call for ${EXTEN})
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Set(CALLERID(name)=${CUT(CALLERID(name),@,1)})
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(name):0:2}" != "+1"]?notrim)
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Set(CALLERID(name)=${CALLERID(name):2})
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n(notrim),Set(CALLERID(number)=${CALLERID(name)})
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Wait(1)
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Answer
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Wait(1)
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,SendDTMF(1)
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Goto(from-trunk,gv-incoming-${CUT(EXTEN,@,1)},1)
exten => h,1,Macro(hangupcall,)

With this context you’d use gv-incoming-username (where username is the part of the associated gmail address before the @) as the DID in your inbound route — a DID doesn’t have to be numeric even if FreePBX whines about it, and the advantage is you only need one context to handle incoming calls for all your Google Voice accounts.  This particular context is slightly modified from one found in the PBX in a Flash forum, but note that it contains these four lines that wait ONE second, answer the call, wait ONE second (you do NOT have to wait two seconds, despite what any other article may say, and in fact the one second wait might be unnecessary), and then send the touch tone digit 1:

exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Wait(1)
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Answer
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Wait(1)
exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,SendDTMF(1)

You will find those four lines, or some variation on them (sometimes just the last three), in just about every published method for using Google Voice with Asterisk and FreePBX.  But, in FreePBX at least, you can replace them with this:

exten => _[0-9a-z].,n,Set(DIAL_OPTIONS=${DIAL_OPTIONS}aD(:1))

This slides the aD(:1) into the options that will be used with the Dial command, so when the extension answers, the call will be answered and then the touch tone “1” will be immediately sent to Google Voice, and then the audio between Google Voice and the called extension will be bridged as usual.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately depending on your point of view, it appears that if the call should go to Asterisk’s voicemail, the call will not be answered and the DTMF 1 will never be sent.  This means that if, for whatever reason, you don’t answer the incoming call, after 25 seconds it will go to Google’s voicemail.  There are doubtless ways around that (and if anyone’s truly interested, leave a comment and I’ll suggest a way that may work, that involves routing the incoming call to a ring group first) but I suspect that the majority of people who want to do this will be doing it because they want to use Gmail’s voicemail.

I’ve tested this and it works for me, though I would not use it on a regular basis because I prefer Asterisk’s voicemail.  If it doesn’t work for you for some reason, the only suggestion I can offer is adding a w before the :1, so the added options look like aD(w:1) – that will add a one-half second delay before the “1” is sent, and more than likely it won’t help one bit, but may cause callers to not hear your “hello” or other greeting.  But, you can try it and see — at least one user has reported it to be necessary.  If that doesn’t work, I probably won’t be able to help you but if you leave a comment, maybe someone else can.

And, should anyone from Google Voice read this, it would be really helpful if you’d do two things:

  1. Give us a way to disable Google Voice’s voicemail so we don’t have to resort to hacks like this to discourage callers from leaving a message there.
  2. Fix the bug (or “feature”) so that when we turn off call screening, it’s off for ALL destinations, including Gtalk!

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