Google Takes on Skype With Free Gmail Calls

Search giant rolls out email-linked phone service
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2010 6:36 AM CDT
Jason Toff, marketing manager for Google Voice, demonstrates how to make a call from a red phone booth at the Google office in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – Google took a bold stride onto Skype's turf yesterday, announcing that Gmail users will now be able to call landline and cell phones directly from their email. The company says Gmail users will be allowed to call phones in the US and Canada free for at least the rest of this year, Reuters reports. Calls to other countries will be billed at low, Skype-like rates. The service will be rolled out over the next few days.

Analysts say that while the service probably won't be a major earner for Google, Skype's marketshare is likely to suffer. "Google Voice in Gmail will gain some traction, simply because it's there—some people live in Gmail," a communications analyst at Frost & Sullivan tells CNN. "It will steal some share from Skype, but Skype has been in this space for a while, so it will be a long time before Google's share becomes significant."

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