In their quest to challenge Skype for the VoIP crown, the search engine giant is rolling out Google Voice to Gmail lovers (provided they live within a few countries).
Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail.
Calls to the U.S. and Canada will beÂ freeÂ for at least the rest of the year and calls to other countries will be billed at our veryÂ low rates. We worked hard to make these rates really cheap (seecomparison table) with calls to the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japanâ€”and many more countriesâ€”for as little as $0.02 per minute.
Dialing a phone number works just like a normal phone. Just click â€œCall phoneâ€ at the top of your chat list and dial a number or enter a contactâ€™s name. (Official Gmail Blog)
If you do not see the feature yet in your account, you can either wait 72 hours or activate it early by calling a number within your Gmail account (your results may vary).
Thus far, Google seems to be aiming at reducing Skype’s dominance in the world of VoIP by using its deep pockets to draw away Skypers (who have mocked Google’s attempts in the past).
Unfortunately for Google Voice, Skype current advantage lies with its video calling feature, not to mention the fact that the latter is available upon the iPhone thanks to iRage from Steve Jobs.