Overnight, Google expanded Google Voice's mobile and landline calling feature from within Gmail to Australian and international users.
Just under a year ago, Google enabled calling mobiles and landlines directly from within Gmail for US and Canadian users, and overnight expanded this feature to Gmail users in Australia and internationally
-- as well as dropping the rates on calls to more than 150 destinations.
With support for 38 languages, the international expansion of Google Voice's call-out functionality (if not its unique universal number feature) will provide heady competition to Skype -- acquired by Microsoft in May -- not to mention traditional telcos.
No, don't get up: calls from within Gmail now available to Australian users.
Calls within Australia are charged at US$0.02 per minute to landlines and US$0.14 per minute to mobiles. Calls to New Zealand are US$0.02/US$0.20 per minute, and to the UK cost US$0.02 / US$0.18 per minute, while calls to US and Canadian landlines and mobiles are charged at US$0.01 per minute. There are no flagfall fees.
These rates are not dissimilar to Skype's pay-as-you go rates
, although the long-established competitor also offers more comprehensive billing options such as monthly subscriptions. Full Google Voice rates can be found here
In order to use the service, Gmail users are required to install a Google voice and video chat plug-in
. Credit can be purchased in US dollars, British pounds, Euros or Canadian dollars.
The bittersweet detail hiding in today's good news: US and Canadian domestic callers still enjoy free calls
with their service since its launch in August last year
(and this perk has been extended "at least for the rest of 2011"). Envious much?