Google Voice + Gmail = free calls (and Jacko cato)

By Richi Jennings. August 26, 2010.

Now you can call phones from within Gmail -- the phones with, you know, actual numbers. And it's free to call the U.S. and Canada (for now). Google has (finally) integrated the technologies it acquired from Grand Central and Gizmo5 -- and it's challenging Skype to a bar-room brawl. Stop callin', stop callin', IT Blogwatch don't wanna talk anymore.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Jacko cato...

(GOOG)

Laura Sydell considers the thing:

A Gmail phone service ... was presented as a the next phase of Google turning its gmail into a complete communication platform. ... The service uses your computer's mic and speakers.  While signed into gmail you can bring up a number pad and dial anyone, anywhere on their phone.

...

The service will also integrate all contacts and their phone numbers from Google voice or if you have an Android phone it will automatically add those contacts to your list. ... If you have Google voice, it will automatically use that as your [caller ID].
M0RE

Just a second, it's Mitch Wagner's favorite song they're gonna play:

This [will] heat up competition with Skype to the boiling point. ... Google Talk already supports voice calling, but only with other Google Talk users. The new ... service would integrate with regular phone service. ... Google Voice gives you a phone number that callers can dial, but it doesn't have a desktop client; instead, the user tells it which cell phone or desktop phone to connect to.

...

I use Google Apps for email and chat. Google Apps doesn't support Google Voice, so I have a separate account for. ... Will I be able to integrate my existing Google Voice account into my existing Google Apps chat?
M0RE

Josh Kirschner's kinda busy (he's kinda busy):

The Gmail calling feature is free to phones in the U.S. and Canada. ... To use the Gmail calling service, you just click on "Call phone" in the Gmail chat list (the first time, you will need to download a small plug-in for your browser).

...

And you can receive calls made to your Google Voice number within Gmail. ... You should expect call quality to be on par with other Internet calling providers—not as good as your landline, but more than acceptable for the occasional chat.
M0RE

Google's Robin Schriebman clarifies pricing and Google Apps integration:

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 ... as little as $0.02 per minute.

...

We’re rolling out this feature to U.S. based Gmail users over the next few days, so you’ll be ready to get started once “Call Phones” shows up in your chat list. ... If you’re using Google Apps for your school or business, then you won’t see it quite yet. We’re working on making this available more broadly.

...

For more information, visit gmail.com/call.
M0RE

The enigmatic Spor King tracks the roots of the tech:

The new calling  functionality comes from Google’s Gizmo5 acquisition as the VOIP calling feature is partially based on Gizmo5 technology and was developed by a team including Gizmo5 engineers.
M0RE

But you can sense Sam Diaz's frustration (this is a disaster):

Google Voice has come a long way since the company acquired ... Grand Central. ... But the company has taken its time on rolling out some features, much to the dismay of some users - myself included. ... Number portability ... remains just a dream. Google says they’re working on it but it’s a very complicated issue.
M0RE
 

And Finally...

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

 
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