Google Calling Goes International
After the search engine, the e-mail service, and the social network, Google has now deepened its foray into the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) market.
As of Wednesday, Google has made it possible for users of its Google Talk chat services to call landline and mobile phones around the world.
Google’s Product Manager Pierre Lebeau announced in his blog that after making “it possible for those of you in the U.S. to call any mobile phone or landline directly from Gmail [last year] and starting today, we are making this [service] available to many more of you who use Gmail outside the U.S. by offering calling in 38 new languages.”
The new service enables Google’s international users to make phone calls from Gmail or other Google services, such as the new Google+ social network, that support Google Talk.
Google Talk users in the United States and Canada are able to make phone calls to numbers in those countries for free. Google plans to keep the U.S. and Canada free of charge until the end of 2011, and while calls to international phone lines will cost money, many of Google’s rates are cheaper than competitor Skype.
“You can now buy calling credit in your choice of four currencies (Euros, British pounds, Canadian dollars or U.S. dollars) and there are no connection fees, so you only pay for the time you talk,” Lebeau said.
For example, it will cost 10 cents per minute to call mobile phones in the U.K., France, Germany, and even Israel, and it will cost only 2 cents per minute to call a landline in those countries.
It should be noted that this new VoIP service is not available everywhere yet, and Google hasn’t announced exactly which countries will get it first.
“We’re rolling out this feature over the next few days, so if it’s available in your country you’ll see a little green phone icon show up at the top of your chat list and you’ll be ready to make calls (you’ll need to install the voice and video plug-in if you haven’t already),” wrote Lebeau. “If you’re a Google Apps user, your domain administrator must have Google Voice and Google Checkout enabled in the administrator control panel in order to be able to use this feature.”