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Google Announces 'Call Phones' Through Gmail, But Why?

Google Call Phones
Let's imagine that you're sitting in a place where you have a Wi-Fi connection or some other kind of Internet access, but no phone or cell service. (We immediately think of the New York Public Library.) But wait! In this imaginary place, it's perfectly acceptable to talk on the phone, so libraries and movie theaters are out. What kind of place could we be talking about?

We have no idea. We're hoping you do! Because Google just unveiled a new VoIP feature that allows users to place phone calls through the Gmail Web interface. That's cool, because Google doesn't already oversee enough of our daily communications and data, but the company has sweetened the deal by making the service free for calls within the U.S. and Canada throughout the rest of the year. (Will it start charging after that?) The service also apparently offers "very low rates" for international calls. Of course, we haven't been able to try it out yet, since Google will be rolling out the new feature slowly "over the next few days." Once 'Call Phones' appears in your chat list, though, you should be able to dial away. Let us know how it goes -- we'll be on our cells.

(Also, keep on the lookout for Google Voice-branded red telephone booths at your favorite universities and airports, while you're at it. Google wants you to try out the quality of its free VoIP service, and then trap you within its quirkily British phone booth to be later digested to feed the Singularity Brain. Just kidding on that last part, but maybe not.)

Tags: call phones, CallPhones, gmail, google, top, voip, web