Google Voice and Chat in Gmail has an upgrade. Internet behemoth Google is once again flexing its muscle by updating Google Voice and chat functions in Google Mail. The company announced today that Gmail users can now enjoy free unlimited voice calls to landline and mobile phone numbers in the US and Canada. Check your Gmail accounts and you will see the Free Voice Call feature is already enabled! You only need to install the Google Voice plug-in extension for the Call option to your Gmail account and off you go to make free voice calls in select countries!
Google’s entry to this lucrative business currently dominated by Skype is not surprising. The online-advertising business is already declining after a robust growth over the last decade. Google needs new sources of revenue to fuel its growth. The company is envious of Skype which currently enjoys 560 million registered users – 8.1 million of them are paying customers which give eBay, Inc. (parent company of Skype) lots of quick and easy profits. Skype has already become a de facto verb for phoning over the internet, much like Google is now the verb for web searching.
“How do I make free voice calls using Google Voice?”, you might ask. See the screenshot below or Login to Gmail and click on the phone icon in your sidebar. That simple.
With the new and improved Google Voice, Skype should be worried, Google’s Gmail already boasts more than 50 million users. That’s a large customer base for Google to gain some more dollars. While calls in America and Canada will be free, Google will be charging cheap rates on international calls. VOIP calls have become more popular. Testament to this is Skype’s success, it now boast 13% marketshare on global international calls. For the last quarter of 2009, Skype earned $185m in revenues which means they might even hit $1 billion sales in 2010 or 2001.
Apparently this enormous earnings potential from VOIP calls has emboldened Google to steal some customers from Skype and other VOIP companies. The Google Voice software already drew rave reviews and it makes sense for the company to use it as web-based tool for making money via Gmail integration! What do you think? Will you quit Skype and use Gmail VOIP calls? Google is also offering cheaper international call rates to all other countries like UK, India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines. See the link to Google’s voice call rates when you use the free call function in Gmail and you’ll find out that Google voice calls to landline and mobile phones are cheaper than Skype’s standard rates.