26 August, 2010

Google to allow phone calls from Gmail

Google Inc said users of Gmail will now be able to call telephones directly from their email, putting it in direct competition with Web calling service Skype and more traditional operators such as AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications.

Google promised free calls to U.S. and Canadian phones from Gmail for the rest of this year and said it would charge low rates for calls made to other countries.For example it said calls to Britain, France, Germany, China and Japan would be as low as 2 cents per minute.

Google said making a call through its service works like a normal phone in that a user could click on the "call phone" option in their chat buddy list in Gmail and type in the number or enter a contact's name.Calls that cost money will be charged from an online account that users can top up with a credit card, Google said. The service will not be available for making outgoing calls on cell phones because other Google apps already cater to that market, the company added.

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