Google Gmail to roll out phone calls from email accounts.

Google has confirmed that Gmail users in the USA and Canada will be allowed to make phone calls direct from their email accounts. The “Calls from Gmail” service will begin to roll out this week, and will allow free calls to American and Canadian numbers “for at least the rest of the year”. Low rates, which could be as low as two cents per minute to Europe, China and Japan, will also be available for international calls.


Writing on the official Gmail Blog, software engineer Robin Schriebman wrote that “starts today, you can call any phone right from Gmail”. He said that the addition was a development of the company’s current, computer-to-computer voice and video chat services. The move will put Google into direct competition with new media companies such as Skype, as well as traditional phone operators such as BT. It will work by adding another option to the chat list in Gmail, as well as offering a traditional-style on-screen keypad.

Todd Rethemeier, an analyst at Hudson Square, told Reuters that Google’s move presented “a risk to Skype”. He said, however, that it was the attraction of cheap international calls that would be likely to drive people to use the service.

Google has not yet announced any plans to operate the service in the UK or on its mobile phones.

Via Telegraph