Starting yesterday, Gmail users can call any phone right from Gmail. The new service is integrated into the web-based email client and enables to call anywhere in the US and Canada for free and get low rates for other countries.
According to Gmail Blog, calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free for at least the rest of the year and calls to other countries will be billed at our very low rates. “We worked hard to make these rates really cheap, with calls to the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan—and many more countries—for as little as $0.02 per minute,” said Robin Schriebman, Software Enginee at Google.
Dialing a phone number works just like a normal phone. Just click “Call phone” at the top of your chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name. If you have a Google Voice phone number, calls made from Gmail will display this number as the outbound caller ID. And if you decide to, you can receive calls made to this number right inside Gmail.
“We’ve been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant to placing a call when you’re in an area with bad reception,” said Schriebman.
Google is rolling out this feature to U.S. based Gmail users over the next few days, so they will be ready to get started once “Call Phones” shows up in their chat list (they will need to install the voice and video plug-in if they haven’t already). But according to Schriebman, Google is working on making this available more broadly.