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Author Topic: Phone calls from Gmail? Now it's possible!  (Read 4658 times)

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Samker

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Phone calls from Gmail? Now it's possible!
« on: 25. August 2010., 17:16:03 »


Google's on a roll lately, releasing various new products and features for a wide range of their products. The latest one that's incoming is a feature that will allow you to make phone calls from within Gmail.

CNet reports that Google may be turning Gmail into a "communications hub" and adding a fully featured VOIP facility to Gmail, with CNET receiving several screenshots of the new features. The features published show the ability to call the U.S or Canada for free, as well as being able to top-up your account to call international numbers. The service is launched in the same manner you would initiate a voice call over the internet using Google Talk now, by clicking in the chat window on the left side of Gmail.

 Google's been working with voice before, with "Google Voice" being available in the U.S over the last year, a service that allows a user to have one phone number that rings multiple numbers, and with "Google Talk," it's current built-in Gmail voice and chat offering.

The search giant last year bought a VOIP company called "Gizmo5", a company that specialised in web based VOIP technology. Other screenshots of the product actually showed up on the Google Operating System Blog in June this year, which seem to line up with the ones released today: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/06/google-voice-to-integrate-with-gmail-as.html
Cnet points out that it's "not clear" if this is a service seperate to Google Voice or as part of it, even though the services share the same icons for connected and missed calls.

Google was contacted for comment but would not confirm or deny the feature; "Google is always testing new features and products, but we have nothing specific to announce right now."

(NW)


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Phone calls from Gmail? Now it's possible!
« on: 25. August 2010., 17:16:03 »




Samker

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Re: Phone calls from Gmail? Now it's possible!
« Reply #1 on: 27. August 2010., 19:42:31 »

Gmail Users Make One Million Calls in 24 Hours

Google's latest Gmail phone calling  feature hit the ground running with over one million phone calls placed from Gmail in first 24 hours the feature was available, Google said Thursday via Twitter: http://twitter.com/google/status/22199802288
The big question is how many will make Gmail calls in the following 24 hours after people have gotten over the novelty of placing calls via their e-mail inbox.

This isn't terribly surprising that Google is has seen such day-one success considering Gmail has over 175 million monthly users, and the new feature is basically a combination of two popular services Gmail Voice Chat and Google Voice.

The feature, which is currently only available to U.S. Gmail users, allows users to place free "local" (within the United States and Canada) phone calls, as well as cheap international calls. Google says it's subsidizing the "local" calls with the international calls' rates, though these rates are still quite low. You can call a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Argentina, China, and Japan, for as low as two cents per minute.

Google says that the local calls are free for now, and will be through at least the end of this year. However, things may change as the service catches on (though it looks like it already is).

The feature is not yet available to all U.S. Gmail users. It's quite simple to use, however--at the top of your chat bar there is a "call phone" option. Simply click on it and a number pad will appear, on which you can dial your desired number and place a phone call. Naturally, a microphone is necessary in order for you to be able to communicate with the person on the other end of the line.

If you're just a regular user, the recipient of your call will see your phone number as 760-705-8888. If you have Google Voice, however, the two services will integrate and the recipient of your call will see your Google Voice number.

At the moment a lot of people are still wondering why Google has decided to roll out this feature at all (to up the interest in Google Voice? Have a head-to-head battle with Skype?). But, while it's free, we may as well take advantage of it--here's to a million more calls over Gmail in the next 24 hours.

(PCW)

Samker

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Google Extends Free Phone Call Offer for US Gmail Users
« Reply #2 on: 21. December 2010., 16:45:56 »

Google Extends Free Phone Call Offer for US Gmail Users


Gmail users in the U.S can continue call phones in North America and Canada for free after the new year, Google said in a blog post on Monday: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/free-calling-in-gmail-extended-through.html

When Google announced the ability to make phone calls from Gmail in August its plan was to offer free calls to the U.S. and Canada until the end of this year. But now users will be able to make free calls to those destinations for all of 2011, Google said. Calls to other countries will continue to carry a charge.

The most likely reason for the extension is that Google hasn't been able to attract as many users as it had hoped back in August, according to Rosalind Craven, senior research analyst at IDC.

Google can afford to offer free calls to fixed and mobile phones in an effort to attract more users because it isn't as dependent on making money from the calls as Skype, Craven said. If Google one day decides to start charging, usage will inevitably go down, and its continued popularity will be decided by factors like quality, ease-of-use and how well integrated it has become in the way people communicate, she said.

Offering the ability to make phone calls from large Web services like Gmail is starting to chip away at operator revenue, according to Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.

The voice services Google is offering now are only the beginning: network operators should start to get really nervous when Google introduces an easy-to-use service that is tightly integrated with its Android smartphone and tablet operating system, Wood said. There is already anecdotal evidence that business travellers are using Skype on their smartphones to make phone calls while abroad, threatening operators' still-lucrative roaming business, Wood said.

Calling from Gmail is only available to users based in the U.S., and Google has not said when Gmail users in other parts of the world will have access to the service, a spokeswoman at Google said.

(PCW)

 

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