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Google Takes On Skype With Free Calls Offer

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Google is to begin allowing users make free telephone calls through Gmail, its free email service. Users will now be able to make telephone calls to landlines and mobiles from within their Gmail accounts in addition to the already existing free computer-to-computer voice and video chat services. However, the development will only apply to calls made from and to US and Canadian users (until the end of 2010), while calls to the UK, France, China, Japan Germany and many more, will cost 2 cents per minute. Users do not need to download any extra applications to make calls.

The service is expected to be made available for international users in the near future. Once operational, the product link will be on the left-hand of the Gmail page within the ‘chat’ window (you will need to install the voice and video plug-in, if you have not done so already). A ‘call phone’ option will pop-up along with a number pad to let users dial telephone numbers they want to call (See image below). There are already talks of providing ways for non-Gmail users to be part of the service through installation of red Google Voice telephone boxes on some campuses’ and airports’ premises.


An illustration of how to use Google's free GMail telephone service

Google expects the money made from international calls to pay for the free US and Canadian calls. This move is seen by analysts as a sort of direct competition with other Internet telephone services most notably Skype, which boasts of more than 560 million registered users.

Talking Point

Do you think the offer of “efficient and high-quality low-cost calls” by Google through Gmail will be able to sufficiently compete with other Internet telephone companies such as Skype?

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  1. Web Hosting

    August 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Wow!! it was was really the best improvement to the part of google.. i’m a google user and that was really a great news to me.. I hope that it will apply to australia as soon as possible because i have so many friends there.. more power google..

  2. UK Webmaser forum

    August 27, 2010 at 10:43 am

    This is a great service coming from GoolgeMail, they have taken a step ahead of the popular Skpye computer to computer free call, with the new free computer to Mobile and landlines call to US and Canadian. But I wonder why they did not make call to UK also free.

    If Skype want to counter Gmail, they should come up with free computer call to US, UK and Canadian users. I am looking forward for something like this. All the best.

  3. Alex

    September 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Yes I reckon they will compete with Skype. Skype charges for calls out to phones in the same country, and Google has gone one better, plus they are able to market to an immense user base. Google’s model has always been to create tools that outdo the competition’s paid service and make it available for free. It’s a 1-2 punch, and Skype, who do not have the advertising revenue base that Google has, must be quaking in their boots right now: Google can simply afford to give more away than other companies. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are a bulldozer. I love Skype, but if I had to place a bet, my money would have to be on the Goog.

  4. Download anything for free

    September 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    WOW I hope this will be available in the Netherlands this will cut down my telephone bill dramatically!

    Send From My HTC,Sponsored by: Download anything for free check this youtube movie

  5. horsegames

    September 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    cool feature. Gmail continues to be the best email service.

  6. Janla

    May 7, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Anyone care to share their experiences using Google’s service vs. Skype?

  7. Jim Olenbush

    August 15, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Yes. I personally think that Google could outrun other Internet telephone companies. Google has the money, the brand and user’s trust! In time, they might even replace Skype.

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