Almost a year ago Google embedded Google Voice VoIP-based voice calling into its popular free Gmail offering for users in the United States; now, the company is hoping to convince even more Gmail users to try VoIP calling by taking the program global: over the next few days, voice calling within Gmail will roll out in 38 languages and offer service to 150 destination countries. And just to make the deal more appealing, Google has lowered its calling rates.
“We’re always trying to make it easier for people to connect—whether that means sending an email, chatting or video chatting, you can reach the people you care about from right inside Gmail,” wrote Google product manager Pierre Lebeau in the official Google blog.
To further support international users, Google is also enabling users to buy calling credit in four currencies (U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, euros, and British pounds).
Google’s voice calling rates are typically significantly higher for trying to reach mobile users than trying to reach landlines: for instance, calling a mobile phone in the United Kingdom, France, or Germany is $0.15 per minute, whereas landlines are billed at a fifth of that rate. However, in some markets—notably India and China—there’s no rate distinction between calling mobile or landline numbers. Google has published a rate page of Google Voice per-minute charges.
Users in countries getting the service will know it’s available when a green phone icon appears at the top of their chat list within Gmail.