Gmail Allows You To Phone Home

Or call anywhere else, for that matter. What started as a Gmail to Gmail service (with both users at their computer) has expanded to allow Gmail users in the U.S. and Canada to call regular telephone numbers for free (to the U.S. and Canada, at least through January 2011) with low rates for International calls.

The posting on Google’s blog – Call phones from Gmail lays out the process. Essentially, you log into your Gmail account and under Chat choose Call phone.

If you have a Google Voice account that number will be listed as the caller ID. This feature has been slowly rolling out over the last week or so, but is now available to everyone with a Gmail account.

You can use Google Checkout to pay for International calls. Here is a list of phone rates. But calls to the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan—and many more countries—are as little as $0.02 per minute

You use it just by entering a telephone number or, if your contact list has phone numbers in it, just enter the contact’s name. But first, you will be prompted to install Google’s Voice and Video Chat software.

This is another great added service from Google, one that may actually compete with Skype. Give it a try.