Calls Made Via Gmail: 'Loud and Mostly Clear'
Also, the real target is Facebook, not Skype
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2010 2:42 PM CDT
A Google worker rides a bike at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) – With Google rolling out an initiative to allow Gmail users to make and receive calls, Jessica Dolcourt of CNET decided to give it a spin and found that it was ... pretty good. "We were pleased with the call quality, overall, which we tested with other US callers using landlines and mobile phones," she writes. There were garbled voices and a buzzing sound at times, but in general "calls were loud and mostly clear." So is this a Skype killer? Way too early to tell, but the sheer convenience of the service is a strong selling point, she writes.

At Wired, however, Ryan Singel says the real target isn't Skype, it's Facebook. "Google is looking to cement both Gmail and Google accounts as central to web user’s experiences. That’s why Google didn’t release a standalone application today—which would have signaled an assault on Skype. Instead the new service is intended to play to Google’s current successes, namely Android phones—which integrate closely with Gmail and Google Voice—as well as set the stage for Google’s rumored fall launch of a social networking service to compete with Facebook."