A Disney fan blog about the good things in life.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hello? It's Your Email Calling

On Wednesday (8/25), Google introduced the ability to place phone calls to landlines and cellphones directly from Gmail. In order for the feature to work, users need to be signed into their Gmail account via a Web browser. It also requires that users download and install the voice and video browser plug-in. (This plug-in also lets users conduct video and voice chats from Gmail.) 

Can you hear me now?
How does it work?
The feature is somewhat buried in the Gmail chat client, which is to the left of most users' inboxes. There is a tiny little phone icon. Press it, and a dialer opens up in the Gmail window.

Calls connected quite quickly. The feature runs via Voice over Internet Protocol technology, and can be used to reach out to real-world phone numbers. Need to call the doctor, but your cell phone is charging across the room? No problem, do it from the comfort of your desk, right from your browser.
Calls work just fine with the computer's built-in microphone and speakers. Users can also choose to attach a headset to their machine to make calls more private-- no need for everyone to hear how those test results came back.

How much does it cost?

The best part is that it costs nothing to call the US and Canada for the remainder of the year. Seriously, save those cell phone minutes and start dialing.  The caller ID will confuse everyone at first (my husband was wondering when I had time to make it to Encino, CA yesterday) but if you know someone is screening you, this is a surefire way to keep them on their toes.

Next big thing?

Well no, it's skype but gmail's version. It's handy if you are just too lazy to find the phone. I am looking forward to the day when they integrate it with other apps such as googlemaps. Looking up a name of a restaurant and clicking the number in your webbrowser to call-- now that's something.



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