updated 01:30 pm EDT, Wed August 25, 2010
Gmail phone calls go live
Google today added Gmail phone calls to its existing pure Internet voice and video. The option supports placing a call to a conventional phone number, either from existing contacts or to a new number. It integrates with Google Voice and will show that number on caller ID as well as take calls sent to the same number.
Using the feature just requires the same Linux, Mac and Windows plugin that handles AV chat. Calls between the US and Canada will be free until the end of 2010. Any phone conversations abroad or from 2011 will carry rate costs that start at two cents per minute. It should be live in at least the US, although reports have surfaced of it working in Canada as well.
As part of the intro, Google has also been setting up Google Voice phone booths in airports, colleges and universities to give a sample of the experience before they sign up. No roadmap has been given for the roadmap, but the booths should appear within the next few weeks.