Google pulled the plug on public access to its XMPP network. Holy tech jargon, Batman! That sounds like a bunch of nonsense, I know.
Allow me to explain: Up until yesterday, Google allowed third-party apps and services to tap into that aforementioned network -- the mythical XMPP -- which in turned allowed them to provide you with free Internet-based phone service. Those of us who used an inexpensive little box called the OBi to get free home phone service have already dealt with (and moved on from) the change.
It's trusty ol' Groove IP. The company has pushed out a new update that lets you link its app up with a free calling service called Ring.to. When you open the app after the update, it'll prompt you to sign up for an account and pick a new phone number (an option that's apparently exclusive to Groove IP users). The whole process takes about 20 seconds and involves no personal details beyond your name and email address.