Well, that was fast. Earlier today, rumors surfaced that Google is testing a new feature in Gmail which will enable users to make phone calls from the web app. Now Google is announcing that not only is the feature real, it's going live today.
Google is making the announcement at the time of writing at a small press event in San Francisco, but has already posted a blog entry with the news.
"Gmail voice and video chat makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family using your computer’s microphone and speakers. But until now, this required both people to be at their computers, signed into Gmail at the same time," Robin Schriebman, Software Engineer at Google, wrote.
"Given that most of us don’t spend all day in front of our computers, we thought, 'wouldn’t it be nice if you could call people directly on their phones?' Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail," he added.
The new feature will only be available in the US for now, but Google says that it plans to launch it internationally as well. As rumored, calls will be free in the US and Canada, at least until the end of the year, Google says, and international calls will be billed at low rates, starting at $0.02 per minute.
The feature is integrated with the Gmail Chat app which now features a phone dialer enabling users to call any phone.
Interestingly, a Google Voice account isn't required to use the new call feature in Gmail. However, if you do have one your Voice number will be used as your caller ID.
You'll also be able to receive calls to your Voice number in Gmail, solving the issue of a softphone. With the new feature, Google now offers a complete VoIP telephony service, one greatly enhanced by the Google Voice functionality.
Is this true ? will i be able to make international calls to landlines and cells at a low rate ? if that is true then google will became the king of the internet ...millions of people are waiting for this to happen,,,,i am looking forward to this . Great news !!!
Comment #1.1 by: Joe on 13 Sep 2010, 15:10 GMT
I need to start calling Uganda but i dont know how to go about buying credit to start using the feature. Its $0.14 so to say but i have only managed to call the US which is free. (PC-Mobile)
Comment #2 by: washington on 28 Feb 2011, 15:02 UTC
How do I turn that crap off? Every time I try to click on an account number link in an email, it thinks I am trying to call someone. Getting tired of the garbage that google is bringing out lately and not letting us opt out.