In a move that will surprise no one, Google Voice has agreed to continue free calling features in the United States and Canada. Started as a free offering in 2009, the company announced in 2010 and again in 2011 that it would extend free voice calls via the Gmail chat widget.
Entering into 2013, many users believed the company would continue to offer the service for free as Google attempts to compete against Microsoft’s Skype messaging, voice, and video chat app.
When Google first launched Google Voice, it promised to keep the service free for at least one year. Google since that time has closed many of its money losing programs but has chosen to stick with Google Voice despite its lack of relatively popularity.
In 2012, Google barely updated Google Voice. In fact, the only major announcements was Google+ contacts integration and the ability to download an updated Google Android app.
Here is the full announcement from the Google blog:
Many of you call phones from Gmail to easily connect with friends and family. If you’re in the US and Canada, you’ll continue to be able to make free domestic calls through 2013. Plus, in most countries, you can still call the rest of the world from Gmail at insanely low rates.
Are you surprised by Google’s decision to keep Google Voice free in Canada and the US?