Google has been making all kinds of headlines lately. It’s hard to pick up a social networking magazine or read a networking blog that doesn’t mention the new Google Plus network. Now, it’s hard to skim any headline without reading about Google’s new 38 country inclusion. Google has just announced that Google Voice will now be available in a number of countries – thirty-eight to be exact.
Google, it seems, is aiming to take over the Internet one step at a time. Even though Google introduced Google Voice quite awhile ago, the company never made this service available across the world. Now, Google is set to make Google Voice available in thirty-eight distinct languages. In addition, Google has lowered its international calling rates.
The Gmail Calling Feature
If you live in the United States or Canada, you may have noticed a small green phone icon next to some of your Gmail contact names. If you click on this icon, Gmail will allow you to call those users who have filled out contact information. If you do not see a small green icon next to any of your contacts, it is likely that the Gmail feature hasn’t reached your country yet.
But have no fear, Gmail chat will be coming to a computer near you sometime within the next few months. As soon as Gmail calling is an option in your country, that friendly green phone icon will pop up. This means that you can go ahead and make as many phone calls to contacts as you like.
New Gmail Calling Rates
Google wants its Gmail calling feature to be comparable with programs such as Skype. In order to do this, Google has to make international calling prices affordable for people everywhere. According to a Google release, it is now $0.02/minute to call any phone in China and India, $0.15/minute to dial a Mexican cell phone number, and $0.10/minute to dial Germany, France, or the United Kingdom.
These rates are relatively low as far as Internet calls are concerned, but most of Google’s new international rates still can’t beat phone company offerings. Still, it’s free to call any phone in Canada or the United States, and this may just work for people who work on both sides of the border. However, Google announced that the free U.S./Canada rate will only be free until the end of 2011, and then the rate is likely to fluctuate.
Should You Use Google Phone?
There’s no doubt that Gmail Calling is convenient. If you’re talking with someone via Gmail Chat, it’s easy enough to click that small green phone icon and dial away. Then again, depending on where your contact lives clicking the Gmail phone may mean spending more than $50 per phone call. When it comes to Internet phone calls, it’s hard to beat the offerings of Skype.
Perhaps that’s why Skype is used worldwide, and it may also be the main reason why Skype is still the most popular Internet phone service available.
If you want to give Gmail Calling a try, look for the green phone icon to appear. As soon as you get the go ahead from Google, you can call all the numbers you want. Just make sure to pay attention to the minutes that are ticking away on the Google clock!