Google extends free Gmail calling through 2011

In spirit of the holiday season, Google is feeling mighty generous to all of its Gmail users. Google announced this morning that it will extend free calling to all of the United States and Canada, through 2011.

Gmail calling works like a regular phone, but through your email account. You simply select a contact or dial a number, and start talking to the recipient. The free service was originally intended to be cut off at the end of this year, but Google has offered to extend Gmail calling until December 31, 11:59pm 2011.

Gmail calling doesn't just do voice, but it also allows you to video chat with supported webcams and cell phones. Gmail calling also does international phone calls too, for as little as $0.02 a minute.

screenshot2

If you haven't tried Gmail calling yet, give it a try by logging into your Gmail account and selecting "Call phone" on the left hand side. You can also get the desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux for free here.

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21 Comments

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So it won't be free in gmail, but it will be free if you go to the google voice website instead (and your iphone)? I don't follow. Is all of Google Voice free access going away?

"so we made calls TO the U.S. and Canada free" if you read the announcement it plainly states calls to the U.S. will be extended for free. it will always be free in the U.S. it means other countries can still call a U.S. number and it be free, but usual rates apply for U.S. and canada

This is odd because this is just a front-end for Google Voice, and all GV calls are always free for US to US and Canada lines. SMS is also free through GV, and the other chat functionality is basically duplicating what is offered through their other service, Google Talk, which is also free. What exactly are they giving you for free here that isn't already free?

nullie said,
This is odd because this is just a front-end for Google Voice, and all GV calls are always free for US to US and Canada lines. SMS is also free through GV, and the other chat functionality is basically duplicating what is offered through their other service, Google Talk, which is also free. What exactly are they giving you for free here that isn't already free?

Care to read it again?

nullie said,
This is odd because this is just a front-end for Google Voice, and all GV calls are always free for US to US and Canada lines. SMS is also free through GV, and the other chat functionality is basically duplicating what is offered through their other service, Google Talk, which is also free. What exactly are they giving you for free here that isn't already free?

I think the point is, that soon it won't be free

Andrew Lyle said,

Care to read it again?
Point it out to me, my post is pretty clear. They are offering all these services under other product names and access means for free, what did they intend to charge here for, access through strictly the Gmail interface? You can already initiate calls through Google Voice directly, and there are Voice over IP applications available that let you make calls directly from your computer using the GV service. All the other functionality is also provided free elsewhere. If they keep GV and all these services free, they can't be serious by saying this is a special "free" perk available through Gmail.

Also if you didn't get it, "Gmail calling" Requires Google Voice and all these other services (Google Talk) to be active and merely redirects their features to Gmail through an alternate integrated interface. Gmail even using the same international & calling rates as GV, all the help pages link to GV pages. Again, all of it is free, it sounds very much like a marketing ploy or some type of confusion on their part making press releasing for "extended" free features which are already marketed elsewhere as being completely free without restriction.

Edited by nullie, Dec 20 2010, 9:59pm :

nullie said,
Point it out to me, my post is pretty clear. They are offering all these services under other product names and access means for free, what did they intend to charge here for, access through strictly the Gmail interface? You can already initiate calls through Google Voice directly, and there are Voice over IP applications available that let you make calls directly from your computer using the GV service. All the other functionality is also provided free elsewhere. If they keep GV and all these services free, they can't be serious by saying this is a special "free" perk available through Gmail.

Google is EXTENDING the free period.. meaning that once the free period is up, they will go into a pay-per-use or subscription based plan. No details are released, but Google is simply extending the free period for one more year.

So, it won't be free in 2012.. you will have to pay.

Andrew Lyle said,

Google is EXTENDING the free period.. meaning that once the free period is up, they will go into a pay-per-use or subscription based plan. No details are released, but Google is simply extending the free period for one more year.

So, it won't be free in 2012.. you will have to pay.

This information is specific to Gmail's calling feature, and doesn't mention being or appear applicable to Google Voice services itself. GV has been free from the start and has always been marketed as making free calls, there's no indication they're going to change that. Gmail also happens to rely solely on GV to make all it's calls, so what were they intending to do, charge specifically for the functionality through Gmail's interface?

There's something not right about this, I personally don't think they ever intend to change for the functionality and it's just type of gimmicky "free" marketing ploy - or someone is seriously confused somewhere about the cost of this thing. It doesn't make sense.

Edited by nullie, Dec 20 2010, 10:55pm :

nullie said,
This information is specific to Gmail's calling feature, and doesn't mention being or appear applicable to Google Voice services itself. GV has been free from the start and has always been marketed as making free calls, there's no indication they're going to change that. Gmail also happens to rely solely on GV to make all it's calls, so what were they intending to do, charge specifically for the functionality through Gmail's interface?

There's something not right about this, I personally don't think they ever intend to change for the functionality and it's just type of gimmicky "free" marketing ploy - or someone is seriously confused somewhere about the cost of this thing. It doesn't make sense.

*Insert eye roll here.

If you understand this is specific to the Gmail calling feature, and this is a Gmail calling feature article, how about making Gmail calling feature comments?

smartin0115 said,

*Insert eye roll here.

If you understand this is specific to the Gmail calling feature, and this is a Gmail calling feature article, how about making Gmail calling feature comments?

Google has also been pushing Google Voice users to use Gmail if they want to use all the features of Google Voice such as placing and receiving calls through your computer, sort of pegging the two services together. Coming in as a strictly Google Voice user who doesn't use Gmail at all, but has been following and interested in gaining access to all the functionality, it's odd to suddenly see them advertising something that to me as strictly a Google Voice user is completely free, is being advertised in another area of the same basic program as being a "promotion" or "extended benefit."

Edited by nullie, Dec 21 2010, 1:10am :

nullie said,
Point it out to me, my post is pretty clear. They are offering all these services under other product names and access means for free, what did they intend to charge here for, access through strictly the Gmail interface? You can already initiate calls through Google Voice directly, and there are Voice over IP applications available that let you make calls directly from your computer using the GV service. All the other functionality is also provided free elsewhere. If they keep GV and all these services free, they can't be serious by saying this is a special "free" perk available through Gmail.

Also if you didn't get it, "Gmail calling" Requires Google Voice and all these other services (Google Talk) to be active and merely redirects their features to Gmail through an alternate integrated interface. Gmail even using the same international & calling rates as GV, all the help pages link to GV pages. Again, all of it is free, it sounds very much like a marketing ploy or some type of confusion on their part making press releasing for "extended" free features which are already marketed elsewhere as being completely free without restriction.

Well aside from the fact the US and Canada aren't the only countries in the world i see a lot of stuff that the rest of the world can make use of.

I don't know if it even occurred to you but somewhere out there there are other people who call other countries who have to pay to use services which are now free.

This is illustrated here, i have pointed out some of the world in case you missed it (like australia) http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/Untitled3.png

Merry Christmas, buy a wold map, remember you are not the only person who exsists

Auzeras said,

Well aside from the fact the US and Canada aren't the only countries in the world i see a lot of stuff that the rest of the world can make use of.

I don't know if it even occurred to you but somewhere out there there are other people who call other countries who have to pay to use services which are now free.

This is illustrated here, i have pointed out some of the world in case you missed it (like australia) http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/Untitled3.png

Merry Christmas, buy a wold map, remember you are not the only person who exsists

Don't know what you're talking about bub. Google Voice is marketed mostly in the US, not even going to bother to check to see if it's available elsewhere yet. It can be used to make international calls and those do cost money, but GV has free domestic calling and international calls to Canada. I'm going to wrap this post up, as I said, I'm almost certain this is marketing confusion because there are two different camps at Google, the Gmail & Google Voice team are separate. If you check the corresponding blogs, the Gmail team is the one who made the statement it would be "free until at least the end of the year" when the feature launched back in August. The actual Google Voice team blog makes no mention of this, only that it's a new feature addition to Google Voice and normal Google Voice rates apply. Of course, GV hasn't said they'd ever charge for US or Canadian calling.

http://googlevoiceblog.blogspo...receive-calls-in-gmail.html

"All calls made from Gmail will display your Google Voice phone number as the outbound caller ID and all international calls will use your Google Voice calling credit and are offered at the same low Google Voice rates."

It's not that big a deal to me, not going to argue over it.

nullie said,
Don't know what you're talking about bub. Google Voice is marketed mostly in the US, not even going to bother to check to see if it's available elsewhere yet. It can be used to make international calls and those do cost money, but GV has free domestic calling and international calls to Canada. I'm going to wrap this post up, as I said, I'm almost certain this is marketing confusion because there are two different camps at Google, the Gmail & Google Voice team are separate. If you check the corresponding blogs, the Gmail team is the one who made the statement it would be "free until at least the end of the year" when the feature launched back in August. The actual Google Voice team blog makes no mention of this, only that it's a new feature addition to Google Voice and normal Google Voice rates apply. Of course, GV hasn't said they'd ever charge for US or Canadian calling.

http://googlevoiceblog.blogspo...receive-calls-in-gmail.html

"All calls made from Gmail will display your Google Voice phone number as the outbound caller ID and all international calls will use your Google Voice calling credit and are offered at the same low Google Voice rates."

It's not that big a deal to me, not going to argue over it.

"so we made calls TO the U.S. and Canada free" if you read the announcement it plainly states calls to the U.S. will be extended for free. it will always be free in the U.S. it means other countries can still call a U.S. number and it be free, but usual rates apply for U.S. and canada

RightfulSpire said,

"so we made calls TO the U.S. and Canada free" if you read the announcement it plainly states calls to the U.S. will be extended for free. it will always be free in the U.S. it means other countries can still call a U.S. number and it be free, but usual rates apply for U.S. and canada

This feature is only available in the US... doesn't work elsewhere.

Shadrack said,
I never understood why they decided to integrate this feature as part of their Gmail "portal" as oppose to their Google Voice page. Don't you need a Google Voice number to use this?

Yes, you need a Google voice number and its not integrated to Gmail but on the chat feature of gmail. It make sense to integrate to chat.

signalpirate said,
but Google has offered to extend Gmail calling until December 31, 11:59pm 2010 ?typo perhaps

Was thinking the same myself