Google Rolls Out Free Phone Calls Via Gmail

Search engine giant Google said today that it has rolled out free, voice calling via Google Gmail, at least for users in the U.S. and Canada. According to Google, users of Gmail will begin seeing the ability to "Call Phones" from their contact lists, or can use a dialpad to phone users. Calls outside of the U.S. and Canada will be billed at what Google says are "very low rates", including rates as little as $0.02 per minute to U.K., France, Germany, China, and Japan. Google said calls to the U.S. and Canada would be free at least until the end of the year. Google looks to be possibly leveraging technology it gained from the acquisition of San Diego-based Gizmo5 back in November. Gizmo5--one of the firm started by founder Michael Robertson--offered up a voice-over-IP client which allowed users to call internationally to landlines. Google said at the time that it would add Gizmo5's engineers to the Google Voice team.