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Gmail Now Allows Phone Calls in US

August 29th, 2010 Posted in News

Google, Inc. has long been expanding its array of web based services, usually offered at no cost to users, for the past several years. Experts say that the company is looking to get beyond being simply a search engine and also wants to diversify the way that it obtains income from its powerful ad network. In keeping with this, Gmail was Google’s offering of free email over the web similar to Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, but now Gmail has gone further to include a new feature which allows users to do more than just voice and video chats similar to what Yahoo offers via its Yahoo Messenger software. Gmail now allows for the making of phone calls, at least for users in the United States and Canada at this time. Using the Google Voice account which users must sign up for separately, Gmail users can place free local phone calls, meaning to US and Canadian phone numbers that can be mobile phones or land lines, not just other Gmail users or Google Voice numbers. Outside the these 2 countries, international calls are possible and cost 2 cents per minute at this time.

The Google Voice technology also allows users to receive incoming phone calls from land lines or mobile phones, allows those calls to be screened prior to answering, allows users to listen in as voice mails are left and also sends users transcripts to their email of voice mails left for them. In the first 24 hours of the new phone feature, Gmail users made over 1 million calls.

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