Google Turns Gmail Into a Phone

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News Posted: Wed, Aug 25 2010 11:42 PM
We know that Google is constantly experimenting with new ideas, and rolling them out as they come to fruition. Thus, on Wednesday, we saw another feature come to Gmail, which Google seems to be focusing on as a communications center. While you have been able voice chat to other Gmail users through Gtalk for some time, how about this: voice calls from Gmail?

It would seem to be a natural extension of the voice chat functionality, and Google Voice as well. While you can use Google Voice to make a call, it doesn't use VOIP to do so: it calls your phone and then calls the recipient as well.

Obviously this sort of functionality has a high-profile target, Skype (or maybe two, Fring). Launched from the chat section of Gmail, it shares a lot in common with the Google Voice UI.

Google says that calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free "at least through the end of the year," with other calls billed at their "very low rates." If you have a Google Voice phone number, calls made from Gmail will display that number as the outbound caller ID. You can even receive calls to that number inside Gmail.

Typical of Google service updates, this will roll out gradually. When you get the feature, you'll see "Call Phone" in the chat section of Gmail. You will need to install the voice and video plug-in if you haven’t already.  Let us know what you think about it, once you get it in your Gmail.

Still confused?  Check out this Google demo video:
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Seems like they are trying to make Gmail and versatile medium for their users to have. I have no problem with this.

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Anything seeking to displace Skype would be a welcome thing. Skype has been feature-stagnant for years and has Ebay's horrendous fingerprints all over it from its lack of customer support to questionable fund seizures.

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Inspector replied on Thu, Aug 26 2010 2:53 PM

I want it to go back to the 1000BC method of calling people :P. Its face to face chat :D.

Why use Gmail when i can grab the phone right next to me :)

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I have never tried Skype and I dont think I ever will. I have see the software screw up way to many computers!

I did just try this, and it seems to work pretty well! It was rather simple to set up and the audio sounds great! You just need to make sure you have a good microphone, my GF couldnt understand me because of a crappy old mic. Although she sounded perfectly clear.

Then again that could just be because you have a Texan Talking to a Japanese:P Two diferent languages.Huh?

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My dad called me today with it. it sounded good on each side, it sounded like a normal phone call 

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