Make cheap phone calls from your Gmail account

Gmail users have just received a completely new weapon to add to their arsenal of total communication: The ability to make cheap voice calls from your Gmail account to mobile phones and landlines.

Before this new development, the ability to communicate using voice required both Gmail users to be logged in and sitting in front of their computers. All that has changed and the folks over at Skype must be shifting nervously in their chairs.

In a bid to encourage adoption of this technology, Google have made all calls to the US and Canada free “at least until the end of the year”, and kept the prices really low for calls to other countries. Calls to a South African landline cost US$0.05, and calls to a cellphone US$0.17. See the complete price list here.

The interface has also been made simple to use. Simply click the new “Call Phone” icon in your chat list, (installation is quick and simple first time), and then dial in the number you want to call and select the country you’re calling. First time I tried it, US$0.10 were pre-loaded and the call I placed went through clean and clear in seconds.

The Gmail blog explains further that “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.”

If you’re still not clear how this works, then watch this simple video explanation.

Will it be a gamechanger? Potential Skype-killer? Only time will tell.



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