Print 16 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on Aug 26 at 3:43 PM

  (Source: Mashable)
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On its altruistic quest for world domination, Google has merged Google Voice with Gmail, allowing users to make phone calls to any number directly from the browser.

According to neowin, Google will be rolling out the feature progressively in the U.S. and Canada over the next few days. Or you can install the Google Voice plugin now, allowing you to make free calls to anyone in the U.S. or Canada, and 2-cent-per-minute calls to 30 select countries.

The feature will allow users to receive calls right in Gmail, too, with their Google Voice phone number. TechCrunch is reporting that "call quality is very, very good – comparable to Skype." TC has a short video demonstrating the new functionality.

For the uninitiated, Google Voice is a (mostly) free phone service and allows users to choose one number for up to six different devices. You can use the same number for a mobile phone, home phone, and work phone, having all phones ring at the same time, or having none of them ring. Voicemails that others leave you are automatically transcribed to text and are forwarded to your e-mail.

The newly integrated Google Voice will also support video chat.

At the same press conference that it announced the new functionality, Google also unveiled plans to install U.K.-style red phone booths across universities and airports to promote Google Voice. Users will be able to make free calls from the booths, which employ Google Voice, to anywhere in the world. The booths are a way for the California-based tech company to show off the the voice quality of the service compared to other VoIP and landline-based phones.

Google did not say how many phone booths it plans to install or release specific locations. Look for more details in the coming weeks.

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RE: Wait a minute here.
By TheHarvester on 8/26/2010 11:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Not exactly, though I'm not 100% sure how they're going to update the Google Talk application for Android. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think this VOIP GoogleSkype is just a desktop application thing, not for mobile devices. I think when Google Voice is used as a call forwarding service, it's not VOIP, though I could be wrong.

That being said, anyone who has an unlimited data plan and is still paying for texting is clueless (one guy humorously made up a chart demonstrating that many carriers make you pay the equivalent of $76,696 per gigabyte for a $10 or $15 plan: ). There are a number of services offered for free online texting now, but with a GV number, it's integrated with Gmail and you can have texts arrive in your gmail inbox, pushed to your phone as if they were emails (you can respond in line), making them searchable, free, and entirely integrated with your existing contacts database.

Also, this is a pretty well known trick as well, but many carriers let you add phones to your "my five" or whatever unlimited calling circles they offer. If you add your GV number, you can get free outgoing calls (because they're directly patched through a call to GV), though it appears that incoming calls aren't always free due to the origin being a different number.

Don't mean to sound like an ad for the thing, but I've found GV to be extremely useful... I was able to get the cheapest phone plan (Verizon, mine is like 400 minutes a month... some months I make 1000 minutes of calls with only about 60-100 showing up on the bill as charged minutes) without paying for texting. Not to mention the voicemail customization and call forwarding and other useful services you normally have to pay for to have on an enterprise level.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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