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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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February 28, 2008 5:19 PM

Is Google copying Seattle non-profit's voicemail project?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Google's getting kudos today for a new service offering free voice mail for homeless people in San Francisco, a program highlighting its GrandCentral messaging service.

It's a great idea - just ask Community Voice Mail, a Seattle-based philanthropy that's been providing the same service since 1991 and now reaches 40,000 people in 320 cities and towns across the country.

The program started off with a voicemail system donated by Active Voice and more recently has benefitted from more than $3.5 million worth of support from Cisco.

It didn't get the press of Google's announcement, but Community Voice Mail on Monday won the nonprofit world's equivalent of an Oscar, an "excellence award" from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in New York. The award recognized CVM's partnership with Cisco.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.