Android Central

Google has been offering Gmail users the ability to call standard phone lines for awhile, and it looks like the service will be continuing through 2013. Americans and Canadians can keep making calls for free, while international users will still have access to reasonable rates. 

It's not a huge surprise that the service is continuing, since Google has extended Gmail calling since launching in the summer of 2010. Right now it's still only for desktop, but it sure would be nice to see the feature folded into Android's Google Talk or Voice (for those that have it) at some point.

How often do you guys use Gmail's phone calling service? How much do you figure services like this peeve carriers? Can Google reasonably expect to compete with Skype (and by association Windows Phone) on the VoIP front?

Source: Gmail


Reader comments

Free Gmail calls in Canada and U.S. extended through 2013


I used to use it quite a bit for phone calls through desktop quite a bit. It was easy and worked very well. I would like to see more features added to Google talk for desktop though. The Google talk for android has video chat in it though. And it would be nice if we could use Google voice for MMS.

I use it very very often. And I agree, I wish it were integrated with Google Voice - same calling number, and use of Android app.

you actually can use it on your phone. you just need a sip trunking service like and you can point the call to your gtalk and google voice. you would then put in the information for pbxes into the sip dialer built into the android dialer.

I think you are missing a step there.

Outbound calls are going to need some route to POTS. You can't make a google voice call without some portion of it traveling on cellular minutes.

To move that portion of the call to your Data connection you need to run another utility, which emulates the Google Talk desktop client or provides another transport means from your phone to Google Voice There are a number of these in the market.

There is also a service called Simon Telephonics, but you have to give them your Google password to get it to work, which is probably a violation of Googles TOS.

Similarly, inbound calls to your GV number are going to need a route to your phone, and that too will chew up cell minutes, unless you employ some external Pots-to-sip gateway. In my experience, these are less than satisfactory.

Not true. If you do the initial setup with SipDroid, and only SipDroid, you get the option to create a trunk to Google Voice on pbxes. I did that, installed CSipSimple, and can now choose whether an outgoing call is via Sip or regular voice. Incoming calls to my GV number come through also. You get 2000 free minutes a month with pbxes, so it's a hard deal to pass up. I only became aware of this because of a thread at XDA where people are signing up for a TMo monthly plan that has 5 GB of data, free texts, and 100 minutes for $30 per month. If you go data with incoming and outgoing you are golden.

I have never used it as its not free, there is a relatively largish minimum top up (and I'd have to chase them to try to get a refund if required) and they didn't provide any credit to try it out (AUSTRALIA).

I wonder if they'll ever allow the full suite of Google Voice services in Canada. It's really quite frustrating that it's not possible to use it on my handset.

So this is for US users too phone USA/Canadian phone numbers for free?? I couldn't get it too install in my Gmail, and I'm from Canada

Excellent app called GrooVe IP. I have been using it for over a year and it works perfectly. The app logs into your Google Voice account and as long as it is running you can make and receive VOIP calls. I live in Thailand and use it to make FREE calls to the US, so I don't understand why this article says you don't get free calls with Google Voice or Talk. I've made free calls using GrooVe IP from China, Philippines, Singapore, etc. I've also used it to call from the US to overseas to get Google's low rates.

All you have to do is open your Voice account on a desktop, then make sure under the settings that the box is checked to forward calls to Google Chat. After that, calls to your Google Voice number will ring on your phone, even if you're out of the country (or have wi-fi but no cell service). You'll also be able to make outgoing calls for the same rates you'd get if you were using "call phone" in Gmail.

Having said all this, it still would be nice if Google would cut out the middle man and make the Voice or Talk app capable of making/receiving these calls directly.

I wonder when will free phone calls to Puerto Rico be included. All carriers do to include Magic Jack, yet Google still doesnt implement this.

Love this, I have had free Home phone service since 2010, with my obihai box this rocks, also downloaded their app and use it to make phone calls from my nexus 7, thanks google

I would love to have Gmail voice capabilities for my Samsung Galaxy Camera. This would give it phone service for those occasional needs to check facts, etc.