There are plenty of free services available on the web, from photo-editing to social-networking. However we've identified 18 that can be used in place of chargeable services, helping you save money.
There are hundreds and hundreds of websites that offer you things for free from social-networking to video clips and even the ability to edit your digital pictures.
Those are great, but what about freebies that displace something for which you usually pay? Think beyond free antivirus software and other no-cost PC utilities - how would you like free long-distance calling, MP3 downloads, ebooks, and text messaging?
Some of these offerings, such as free services for making and receiving faxes, are for an introductory level of a paid product. Others are ad-supported or public services. But each one is a compelling way to get something, for free, that ordinarily costs you money. In many cases you'll get just as much as what you used to pay for - or more.
Make free long-distance calls
Free long-distance and international calls are worth putting up with a couple drawbacks. The service requires you to perform a convoluted dialing procedure: it gives you a special local number to reach a faraway friend, and your pal gets a local number too.
You dial your local number, after which you have 10 seconds to tell your buddy to call back on their local number. You stay on the line and wait while they hang up and dial back.
You might hear an ad while waiting to connect again, but the two of you can talk as long as you want after the hook-up is complete. I thought the calls sounded good, although one call recipient questioned the quality.
Send and receive faxes for no charge
Do you need to send faxes just once in a while? Ditch the fax machine and use free-to-try online services such as Qipit.
Qipit lets you send up to five faxes each week for free. You can upload JPEG images or even send them directly from a camera phone. Free faxes include a header banner that mentions Qipit.
Alternatively, try eFax Free. It handles everything, digitising faxes and routing them to your email account. You get a free phone number that is connected to eFax and is always listening for incoming calls.
eFax Free has a few limitations, however. You don't get to pick an area code for the incoming number, and you can't receive more than 100 pages each month. Plus, you have to read faxes in an eFax application, in its proprietary .efx format. (Paying subscribers can select an area code, receive more faxes, and read them as PDFs.) But for moderate use, eFax Free works well.
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