Move over, Skype, you fat ass.
Google’s taken its already largely superior email service and added one more pretty amazing feature that is likely to piss off some pay to play companies. As of today, you can now make phone calls straight from an open GMail window, and they’re free within the US and Canada at least until the end of 2010. (That particular caveat is curiosity-piquing, because paying for domestic calls is likely to be at least on the table if they thought to say so.)
I’ve always found Skype to be a pain in the ass at the best of times- it was so resource draining it refused to run on my old Dell laptop (a pretty powerful if sucky machine) and the sound quality has always struck me as so-so. The interface is also not very intuitive, versus the GMail phone call interface, which appears to just be a giant pop-up keypad. If you’ve got a Google Voice account, that number will be displayed when you make outgoing calls, and you can receive calls to that number in GMail.
If you haven’t gotten an option to use it yet, GMail says it’s coming:
We’re rolling out this feature to U.S. based Gmail users over the next few days, so you’ll be ready to get started once “Call Phones” shows up in your chat list (you will need to install the voice and video plug-in if you haven’t already). If you’re using Google Apps for your school or business, then you won’t see it quite yet. We’re working on making this available more broadly – so stay tuned!
I haven’t gotten mine yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye out- if anything, I won’t have to walk across the room to get my phone anymore, or out to the car if I’ve left it there. Are you excited about this feature? Think it will replace some or all of your phone service?