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Google's "Calling From Gmail" Aims to Disrupt International Calling - 38 countries, 4 currencies

Fascinating move by Google... they've now expanded "Calling from Gmail" to 38 countries, opened up payment into 4 currencies (US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Euros or British Pounds), and lowered their calling rates to over 150 "destinations" around the world. If you aren't familiar with "Calling from GMail", it's the green phone icon you may have inside your Gmail inbox:


I'm showing the phone "popped out" of the browser window, but normally it just appears inside your browser window and lets you search your contacts or dial new numbers.

Personally, I find that most of my international calling (and actually most of my calling, period) is done via Skype... but for those who want to reach people internationally on regular mobile phones (or (GASP!) landlines) this could offer another cheap option.

Similarly, if you live in Google products (something more people are exploring now that Google+ is here), this provides a great way to stay within Google-land and make your phone calls. While I am a Gmail user, I read all my email offline so I never use the web interface... so I don't see me using this, but many will, I'm sure.

Sadly, there seems to be no way to call SIP addresses, so for those of us who want to break the shackles of all the legacy PSTN limitations and, for instance, have calls in rich wideband/HD audio, "calling from Gmail" still won't cut it.

Google provides a simple rate chart (click "show all rates" to see the full list) and says in their blog post:

For example, it’s now only $0.10 (or €0.08) per minute to call mobile phones in the U.K., France or Germany (landlines are $0.02/min), $0.15/minute to call mobile phones in Mexico and $0.02/min to call any phone number in China and India.

They also note:

Calls to the U.S. or Canada placed within those countries will continue to be free at least for the rest of 2011. Calls to the U.S. or Canada placed from outside these countries will be charged $0.01 per minute (or €0.01, £0.01, C$0.01 per minute).

Google being Google they also provide a nice happy video:

All in all it looks like an interesting offering for people who live in the Google web interface. And it all continues to add pressure to that international dialing market...

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