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Google Testing Voice Calling In Gmail

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

Communications 114

Tootech writes "Google could be adding the ability to make phone calls from the Google Chat interface. Google is testing a Web-based service within Gmail that will allow users to place phone calls from their in-boxes. It's launched from the Google Chat window on the lower left-hand side of a Gmail page and allows users to place and receive calls from within their contacts through a user interface that strongly resembles the one used in Google Voice."

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114 comments

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Finally (3, Interesting)

gedw99 (1597337) | about 4 years ago | (#33368898)

this is great news. anyone know if it will be global, and not just US based ?

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369120)

Sure it will be global. Right after those eggs in your fridge hatch into little pink curly-tailed piglets. You have asked this question so I assume we're already past the pigs flying stage, right?

Re:Finally (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#33369650)

This is all nice and good, but, I sure wish they'd not phase out the 'classic' gmail look. I just don't like the new interface, and can't imagine it takes THAT much effort to keep this older, simpler one around?

Re:Finally (1)

revlayle (964221) | about 4 years ago | (#33370330)

Keeping more than one version of anything requires effort and more people. Also, it's not THAT much different. A few links and buttons were moved around and panels changed a bit. Other than that, I can't really tell what else has changed. If you're complaining about that...i mean really... i'll just get off your lawn now.

Re:Finally (2, Interesting)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 4 years ago | (#33371240)

Keeping more than one version of anything requires effort and more people...

It doesn't mean that I still don't mourn the keyboard commands in Pine

Re:Finally (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33371670)

So use alpine. You can install it locally, and connect to gmail via imap. I like mutt for that, but to each his own.

Re:Finally (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 4 years ago | (#33371740)

Portability.

I can just imagine the reaction of my IT guy when I ask him to get management approval (who would require legal to review the open license) for "non standard" software just so that I can have convenient keyboard shortcuts while checking personal email at work...

Re:Finally (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 years ago | (#33371882)

"Keeping more than one version of anything requires effort and more people. Also, it's not THAT much different. A few links and buttons were moved around and panels changed a bit. Other than that, I can't really tell what else has changed. If you're complaining about that...i mean really... i'll just get off your lawn now."

That, and I find the newer version, is MUCH slower...on older hardware.

I've got an old iBook G3...and am stuck at an older version of Firefox on it....and the newer version of Gmail is just dog slow.

Just liked to keep using an old lappy that is chugging along, and for just webmail, I'd like to keep using it...it should suffice, but the webmail part has gotten just too big and slow with all of the (IMHO) unneeded additions. How about just simple web facing email? Or, at least give options to turn most of the crap like chat and what-have-you off?

Re:Finally (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | about 4 years ago | (#33372096)

How about just simple web facing email? Or, at least give options to turn most of the crap like chat and what-have-you off?

...
Scroll down to the bottom, there are links to turn off buzz and chat, or to go to a straight HTML interface with no javascript...

I cannot emphasize the dot dot dot impatience enough.

Re:Finally (2, Insightful)

Superken7 (893292) | about 4 years ago | (#33369252)

Yep, I am still waiting for google voice to be available over here...

I don't like it when they roll out new products which are only available in certain countries. Checkout (android paid apps) and voice for instance :(

Re:Finally (2, Informative)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33369436)

Personally, I found Google voice to be underwhelming. While the feature set is nice, as is the convenience, the sound quality is not great on the voicemail. I also had several people report that (while I was receiving some messages) they would sometimes be routed to a message that said my mailbox was not set up.

I quit and went back to using the regular carrier service, I need more reliability...

Re: sound quality (2, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 4 years ago | (#33372304)

However, I am faced with a total cell hole disaster on AT&T's network, so anything at all would be a quality improvement!

You can have all android paid apps you want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369500)

Google for Android Market Enabler.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369636)

Because as a developer I must make sure that before anyone gets anything everyone must be served equally.

Maybe everyone dose not want to wait for google to get numbers in the entire world for some to get it. Maybe developers do not want to go through all the work to get there apps out to multiple countries. Maybe you should move.

Re:Finally (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 years ago | (#33369812)

There is little work required to get Google Voice to work in Canada. It *DID* work in Canada before Google *removed* support. In fact, it does still work in one area code in Alberta.

And since Canada and the US use the same country code (1), and support was already there, it shouldn't be particularly difficult to support Canada...

Re:Finally (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33372144)

Except for the little problem not being able to get an actual number where you live. I'm sure everybody I know would just love to call me internationally.

Re:Finally (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 years ago | (#33373740)

You seem to be missing the point. It used to be possible to GET numbers where you live in Canada, as far as I know. Google removed the pre-existing support for this.

Re:Finally (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33373906)

Ah, I see what you're saying. Yes, Google has a nasty habit of creating products and then restricting them for no particular reason.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369840)

Maybe you should learn the difference between "there" and "their". And add "they're" to the mix while you're at it. Who knows, maybe one day you'll need it.

Re:Finally (3, Insightful)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 4 years ago | (#33369450)

Its great news, and it isn't.

I for one use chat so that I don't have to talk to anyone... including the option to talk to the person isn't making my day any better.

This is a very useful calls for cheap feature, but I hope they add a way to disable it. Maybe a sort of "mute" button but the mute hides your ability to talk to the other person.

I know that sounds anti social, but I spend a good portion of my day glued to a phone for business reasons. I don't feel like being glued to one again at night for family reasons.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33371454)

Terrible news!

I just don't know what would happen if a certain subset of IRC contacts which found me on google chat ever heard me answer with a male voice.

Re:Finally (1)

olyar (591892) | about 4 years ago | (#33372828)

The existing version of chat has an option to do audio chat with another Gmail user.

Starting a voice chat requires a separate connection hand shake. So I can be text chatting with someone and if they try to move to voice and I don't want to, I just don't answer the call. If you need an excuse, it's that you don't have a microphone on your machine, or whatever.

My guess is that this will work in a similar fashion.

u.s. based (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 4 years ago | (#33372474)

this is great news. anyone know if it will be global, and not just US based ?

For now, it is U.S. based. From the GMail Blog [blogspot.com] :

We’re rolling out this feature to U.S. based Gmail users over the next few days

Product merger perhaps? (1, Insightful)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | about 4 years ago | (#33368916)

Perhaps Google takes this lesson from Wave's failure -- merge products together, don't dev them out on an island where they won't be used.

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1, Informative)

Superken7 (893292) | about 4 years ago | (#33368974)

except for buzz, where everybody turned it off because it interfered with the GMail experience.

And BTW, wave.google.com has been a failure, wave as a technology and protocol still rocks.
GMail, docs and other google products are being reworked to have wave technology under the hood, and companies are starting to use the wave protocol and its technologies to deliver rich collaboration.

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

prestomation (583502) | about 4 years ago | (#33369148)

GMail, docs and other google products are being reworked to have wave technology under the hood, and companies are starting to use the wave protocol and its technologies to deliver rich collaboration.

*Citation Needed*

Re:Product merger perhaps? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369164)

except for buzz, where everybody turned it off because it interfered with the GMail experience.
And BTW, wave.google.com has been a failure, wave as a technology and protocol still rocks. GMail, docs and other google products are being reworked to have wave technology under the hood, and companies are starting to use the wave protocol and its technologies to deliver rich collaboration.

BINGO!! I've got Bingo!

Re:Product merger perhaps? (4, Funny)

duguk (589689) | about 4 years ago | (#33369226)

BINGO!! I've got Bingo!

Dammit! I was only waiting for 'Synergy'!

Re:Product merger perhaps? (4, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33369458)

My card sucked, I still needed "alignment", "visibility", and "win-win"

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 4 years ago | (#33371294)

I've got "Nazi" - it's a sure win on the internet, but sometimes it takes a while.

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

flibuste (523578) | about 4 years ago | (#33372756)

Still waiting for someone to 'touchbase' with in order to 'streamline' this new Google feature and 'leverage' our financial costs using it.

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 4 years ago | (#33373160)

What the hell does "touch base" even mean? Where did that most irritating term come from?

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 4 years ago | (#33375836)

Buzzword overload.##### This email will self-destruct in 60 seconds.###########

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#33369228)

This isn't buzzwordy enough. Where am I being enlightened about the synergy I'll gain from using wave?

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

weszz (710261) | about 4 years ago | (#33369440)

I don't know, I think the excitement that he unveiled was perfectly credulous. We need to incorporate it into the vision as we strive for excellence in our everyday existence. THAT is how you will utilize synergy to its fullest potential to enhance your value to the bottom line. This is nanotechnology age excellence.

Re:Product merger perhaps? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 4 years ago | (#33369076)

Perhaps Google takes this lesson from Wave's failure -- merge products together, don't dev them out on an island where they won't be used.

See it as merging email with phone, and it won't work.
But... see it as merging chat with phone, and it's alright.

Open Handset Alliance (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 4 years ago | (#33369090)

I bet this will go over like a lead balloon with their Android partners.

Re:Open Handset Alliance (2, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 4 years ago | (#33369280)

Why would it? Making a phone call from your computer has always been available using Skype. Gmail Voice would not be creating a new market. Perhaps it would widen the market but it wouldn't be a completely new threat to cell phones. Anyway, Android is allowing cellphone manufacturers to get in the game against iPhone. Before Android, it didn't seem like anyone had a chance against the Blackberry/iPhone juggernauts. Now all the best non-iPhone/Blackberry devices are based on Android.

Re:Open Handset Alliance (2, Insightful)

iammani (1392285) | about 4 years ago | (#33369854)

Making a phone call from your computer has always been available using Skype.

Available, yes. Free, no!

Re:Open Handset Alliance (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33372164)

Insanely cheap. And ad free. Google's free services are ad supported. If you don't want ads, you have to pay. So precedent says you'll have two choices - pay for voice calling or put up with ads when you make calls.

Re:Open Handset Alliance (1)

HermMunster (972336) | about 4 years ago | (#33374242)

Get Google voice. Then go to SIPGate and get a phone number. Install FreePBX on a cheap used computer you have lying around. Add an unlocked Linksys pap2 VOIP adapter. Plug in a phone. Set FREEPBX to work with GV and your number from SIPGate. Tell your VOIP adapter to work with FreePBX.

Works wonders and operates like a regular phone except without paying $30.00 a month in charges. Or using FreePBX's offering to get unlimited trunks for $25.00 a month. You can even set up extensions throughout your house if you get multiple Linksys pap2 VOIP adapters.

Free incoming and outgoing local and long distance calls in the US and Canada.

Re:Open Handset Alliance (2, Interesting)

mauriceh (3721) | about 4 years ago | (#33371212)

But Skype and Fring sold us out on VOIP calling on Android.
Now to do Skype on Android you have to be on Verizon.

Language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369126)

I'm curious to see what language/technology this runs on. Being Google they would probably try to do it in Javascript. To see VoIP calls in Javascript... I would be very impressed.

Re:Language? (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 4 years ago | (#33369720)

I'm not sure (I didn't glean any actual information from TFA beyond 'gmail will add phone calls') but I suspect that the new web-based client-side calling software might be related to the existing web-based client-side calling software [google.com] that is already integrated into gmail...
Not Javascript, I'm sorry to say - Netscape plugin.

Excellent! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33369208)

This is great news! Now I'll be receiving ads for cheap pharmaceuticals on my voicemail. That'll be ever so much more convenient.

Not sure why (2, Informative)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 4 years ago | (#33369560)

Calls would only be being placed with those in your contacts book. Your contacts would have to be poisoned first somehow, and not everyone who emails you is put into contacts unless you compose mail to them, or reply to them (ergo creating a discussion).

PS: in a literal mood, but i did recognize you were being humorous ;)

Re:Excellent! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 4 years ago | (#33370026)

So it will be like the golden age of telemarketing again, before all those pesky "Do Not Call" registries....

Re:Excellent! (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 4 years ago | (#33372716)

Except for the fact that there's a lovely "Spam" button that will send the callers to a custom message, I have a fun message set up for them.

ENOUGH OF THIS BALONEY ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369260)

Vincent you need to get a solution for MMS going ! ! ! ! ! ! !

How to tie this into targeted advertisements? (2, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 years ago | (#33369278)

The real question is how will they tie this into targeted advertising (their real business)? Is it just a screen where they can display ads based on the personal profile they have already developed or do/will they use voice recognition to do keyword searches based on conversation content? This is not necessarily tinfoil hat territory, the already do this with gmail. The text of a gmail message is scanned(*) for keywords so that they can do contextual (targeted) ads on your gmail page. Voice recognition is a difficult but interesting and fun research area that might appeal to some at google. It might be interesting to keep an eye on the end user agreement.

"Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email in order to target advertisements or related information. This type of automated scanning is how many email services, not just Gmail, provide features like spam filtering and spell checking. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers Google's AdSense program." http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6603 [google.com]

Less creepy methods more likely (2, Insightful)

supermariosd (1854156) | about 4 years ago | (#33369468)

Voice recognition might be an option, but I think it's more likely that they'll get their revenue from charging for non-Gmail-to-Gmail calls (calling "real" phones) and attracting more users to Gmail (and thus Gmail's targeted advertising) with the new feature.

Re:Less creepy methods more likely (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 years ago | (#33369848)

Voice recognition might be an option, but I think it's more likely that they'll get their revenue from charging for non-Gmail-to-Gmail calls (calling "real" phones) and attracting more users to Gmail (and thus Gmail's targeted advertising) with the new feature.

I generally agree with respect to the short term. However I think it has less to do with "creepiness" and more to do with the current state of voice recognition software and the hardware requirements of such software. Things that time and money can overcome. Like personal phone conversations, personal email is generally considered private. Scanning an email for ad keywords has a creepy component to it also and they have shown a willingness to cross that line.

voice recognition (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 4 years ago | (#33369960)

Voice recognition is a difficult but interesting and fun research area that might appeal to some at google.

It sure is. Take a look at my last transcribed voicemail from Google Voice. (scrubbed for my name)

Hey **** HEB anything I do have my pen on me And I was stopping with Lia, emptied a Mac said paper cut, give me the following your friends with the Good day Bye. Bye. And. And then I got home and I saw your message, anyway. Dan that we met you. I would've been paid. But we are debt for beach tonight. If you are but she said she wants to start. What wanna start early early. So, I'm not sure what what that means, but I don't know, probably like. Talk to you Give me a call on my side it 3000 and voicemail. Bye.

Re:voice recognition (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 4 years ago | (#33372754)

Easy...

Custom Mac Emptying Service - Having trouble emptying your Mac? Click here for 15% off!

Beach Mortgages - Special mortgage offers for people in extreme debt! Beaches, wetlands, and lakes!

Re:How to tie this into targeted advertisements? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about 4 years ago | (#33371754)

Voice recognition is a difficult but interesting and fun research area that might appeal to some at google.

It's hard to wreck a nice beach.

Voice and Gizmo5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369350)

calls placed to U.S. or Canadian numbers will be free

YES!!!

I, for one, certainly hope that Google will put Android, Gizmo5, and Voice all together into something amazing and wonderful. Soon, we should be able to get rid of these silly "voice" phone plans, and go for a simple data plan, using VoIP to make "calls". Once this catches on, communication will never be the same. Today is certainly the future of yesterday!

Re:Voice and Gizmo5 (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 years ago | (#33370240)

Be ready for expensive data only plans though.

Right now, my Data is $25, my Voice $60, both unlimited.

But networks are actually using more data than voice, so the data only plan would be expected to be at least half that, if not more. I know I do.

180 * 60 seconds * 13 kbit/s * 30 = 500 MB, for 3 hours/day talk time, or 5400 minutes/month.

I generally go over 1 GB in data, and the voip isn't going to save them any, as it's still the same bitrate as the talk.

I doubt that many people use their phone three hours a day (I know I don't), the point was an extreme case. Consider this, max voice traffic possible is 4GB/month. They charge $40-$60 for unlimited voice, be ready to pay a lot for any reasonable amount of traffic, already the voice is essentially irrelevant, and probably wouldn't drop costs much at all.

Just what i need (0, Troll)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about 4 years ago | (#33369352)

My Inbox buying Viagra and WOW gold on its own.

Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (2, Interesting)

eviljolly (411836) | about 4 years ago | (#33369464)

I've been using Google voice as my primary number for over a year now. It has it's downsides, but for a free service it's great. I like that I'm not tied into a single phone or carrier. No matter where I am, as long as I have a phone I can set it to receive calls.

I don't know how much I would even use calling built into Gmail, but I surely won't complain about added functionality. The problem I've found with using computers as phones is that you are tied sitting down in one location, most likely stuck with a headset on since using speakers would result in lots of echo. Applications like Teamspeak and Ventrilo make sense because usually when you're using them, you're already at a computer.
 

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (0, Offtopic)

eviljolly (411836) | about 4 years ago | (#33369478)

*its

I wish Slashdot had a grace period for editing comments, because this is really bugging me now :/

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33370388)

There's a "Preview" button.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

amentajo (1199437) | about 4 years ago | (#33370758)

Flawed by design for this purpose. I can see all the words I typed without hitting "Preview", so "Preview" does not add value here.

It's best used to make sure that formatting works and to make sure you know how slow Slashdot is.

preposterous (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 4 years ago | (#33370040)

The problem I've found with using computers as phones is that you are tied sitting down in one location

Are you trying to make me believe there is life beyond my chair?

Re:preposterous (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 4 years ago | (#33370284)

Well, last time I checked, the mold on your basement walls still counted as life. So yes. Beyond that, it gets hypothetical.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 years ago | (#33370044)

You're not tied to a single phone or carrier with a regular number, either.

And there's nothing wrong with "it's".

"Slashdot has Slashdot's downsides - it has it's downsides."

The "rule" about possessive pronouns is baseless. It is an attempt to avoid ambiguity, though the rule only applies to pronouns, not nouns in general. The rule is only able to exist because pronouns take different forms based on being singular or plural or being an object or a subject ("it" vs "they", "her" vs "their"). Regular nouns do not do this, and thus, there is no way to shoehorn a half-assed rule in to cover all nouns. The ambiguity only exists because people have accepted contractions into the formal language. If you abhor ambiguity, you should fight against the contractions, not against using an apostrophe to indicate possessiveness in a small subset of nouns (the pronouns).

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33370236)

Get a bluetooth headset.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 years ago | (#33370516)

I've never had an issue with echo when using speakers and a mic for VOIP. I'm not sure whether it's a hardware or software solution, but speakerphones have been a solved problem for a long time now, especially beyond computers. Where machines exist that have that problem, sure, you'll need a headset, but I've never burdened myself with that sort of setup.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 4 years ago | (#33370646)

We deal with a lot of international clients and right now Skype offers us the best deal of easily being able to acquire local phone numbers for our clients to call without paying huge routing fees, etc.. Having to sit in front of a computer used to be the problem until Skype for iPhone was released. Still had to be in wifi range at the time and logged into skype on the iphone, but if you knew a call was scheduled, you could take it on the phone. Now, however, with the multitasking Skype app and calls over 3g, you can use an iPhone and not be tied to your computer.

Not sure if Google plans to offer this for phones or not. What will be interesting to see is what ISP's do. Especially those ISP's that happen to be phone providers as well. I've already seen complaints with throttling of Vonage. Wonder if they will do it to Google too.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33371652)

ducomputergeek: Not sure if Google plans to offer this for phones or not. What will be interesting to see is what ISP's do. Especially those ISP's that happen to be phone providers as well. I've already seen complaints with throttling of Vonage. Wonder if they will do it to Google too.

This is where their deal with Verizon would come in handy. Throttle everyone but Google.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33370790)

It calls your phone, and then connects you to the other number. No headset involved.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 4 years ago | (#33371398)

I don't know how much I would even use calling built into Gmail, but I surely won't complain about added functionality. The problem I've found with using computers as phones is that you are tied sitting down in one location, most likely stuck with a headset on since using speakers would result in lots of echo.

Lots of people already make phone calls while sitting in front of a computer -- and use the computer while making the phone call. In those cases, not needing to go to a separate device to place the call has obvious utility. And, as an email app, GMail is a place where people are likely to receive a communication that they might want to follow up via another medium -- text and voice chatting are already integrated into GMail, so adding voice calling to phones is a fairly obvious extension.

Applications like Teamspeak and Ventrilo make sense because usually when you're using them, you're already at a computer.

If you are using GMail, you're already at a computer, too.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

jbarr (2233) | about 4 years ago | (#33372224)

I don't know how much I would even use calling built into Gmail, but I surely won't complain about added functionality. The problem I've found with using computers as phones is that you are tied sitting down in one location, most likely stuck with a headset on since using speakers would result in lots of echo. Applications like Teamspeak and Ventrilo make sense because usually when you're using them, you're already at a computer.

I think you misunderstand the technology. When you initiate the call from within Google Voice, (and presumably within Gmail) Google Voice rings your defined phone. You pick it up, then rings the other party. You can get up and leave or do whatever you want, because at this point, it's all on your phone. You aren't tied to the computer other than to initiate the call.

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (1)

jbarr (2233) | about 4 years ago | (#33372280)

Actually, I stand corrected. It appears that the "Call phone" feature being added into Gmail requires a "Voice plugin" that would require you being tied to the computer after initiating the call. (http://www.google.com/chat/voice/)

Re:Are computers a convenient place to make calls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33373586)

Its called a smart-phone, fool. E.g. i use skype on my nokia 5800 to call my parents landlines on the other side of the world unlimited for 5 euro / month. i also have a online number so my parents can call me. i just keep skype running in the background at all times and the experience is essentially the same as with a normal phone call, and i dont have to sit in front of a computer with a headset on to speak to them. if google ends up offering something similar but at a cheaper rate or with better compression i would switch.

One Word: ( +1, Interesting) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369466)

Botnets !

Yours In Osh,
Kilgore Trout

Sametime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369624)

This sounds like function that's been in Lotus Sametime for awhile.

Yo Dawg (4, Funny)

halfaperson (1885704) | about 4 years ago | (#33369654)

I heard you like to chat, so we put a chat in your chat so you can chat while you chat.

Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33369704)

What is the fascination with Google? Google wants all your searching, all your email, and now all your voice. The conspiracy theorist in me tells me there is something going on.

in-box? (0, Troll)

CrashandDie (1114135) | about 4 years ago | (#33369728)

The 90s called, they want their dash back.

I could see how this could be useful (1)

muppetman462 (867367) | about 4 years ago | (#33369742)

If you could tie your google name to your google voice number, then instead of people getting your phone number, they could click on your user name, and then select call, it rings your phone, then when you pick up, it calls the other person. If that's the case, that would rock!

Sure, Confuse the kids (1, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | about 4 years ago | (#33369936)

Kids today all think that their phones are basically just for text messages, not voice calls.

Now they'll think e-mail is for voice calls, not text messages.

What's next? Using the refrigerator to cook food and the microwave to store it?

yuo Fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33370570)

What is wrong with SIP (2, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 years ago | (#33370656)

The thing I don't get is that they don't have any support for SIP (well, there is Gizmo, which is closed to just about everybody). They're inventing fancy web-interfaces for voice calls (anybody know if they work without flash?), but they can't support SIP - a protocol specifically designed to handle these kinds of situations. Indeed, if they used SIP and you ended up calling somebody else using SIP they could save all the bandwidth by directing the phones to just talk to each other.

It seems like Google is tending to take the MS route - they don't just want to provide a service, they want to control how you can access it. Sure, some of their products are more open - maybe they just can't figure out what kind of company they want to be.

Google - please just give us a SIP interface. I don't care if you even advertise it - just bury the settings in some help page and everybody else will build the front-ends for you...

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

jqh1 (212455) | about 4 years ago | (#33371174)

but they can't support SIP - a protocol specifically designed to handle these kinds of situations

Can't, don't, or don't yet? With google voice, they're two trivial steps away from letting wifi capable phones call and receive calls anywhere in the US (and probably elsewhere) for free, with no SIM card installed, even - 1) set up a SIP gateway and allow (android/iOS,etc. or computer based) softphones to connect it to it using Google's existing authentication bindery, 2) allow Google Voice users to direct calls to the gateway (and 3), I guess, create user interfaces (Android, etc.) for making calls that are more convenient than their website tool). I don't see a business model there, but it would be really cool

You can string this stuff together with GV and other existing services, so I know it works :)

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

jqh1 (212455) | about 4 years ago | (#33372078)

btw the interface just popped up in my gmail account, so I tried calling my cell phone, and the caller ID on my cell phone showed my Google Voice number, so perhaps these services aren't so distinct. Maybe a gmail user who doesn't have a Google Voice account could chime in.

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

wellard1981 (699843) | about 4 years ago | (#33372618)

I don't have Google Voice since I live in the great white north. Caller ID shows the number as 1-760-705-8888.

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33373240)

Google already provides this. They have specific support for Gizmo.

Google bought Gizmo a while back, and I have a Gizmo account (I happened to have mine before the buyout, but my Google Voice account is also a migrated Grand Central account from before Google bought out Grand Central, so Google buying all of this out had no effect on me at all).

Gizmo is integrated with my Google Voice account, all free. Works great. I have a standard Linksys VoIP box that I bought that hooks into Gizmo's SIP gateway and when I want to make a call I simply log into Google Voice, tell it I want to call FROM my Gizmo box TO phone number xyz, my Gizmo phone rings, and when I pick it up it dials through to the number I want to call. Since it's all incoming minutes to Gizmo, that's free, and no charge for US calls in Google Voice. When I get an incoming call, my cell phone, office phone, and Gizmo line all ring, and I can answer them on any device I want.

Any and all SIP devices welcome, since Gizmo uses the bog standard SIP protocols.

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33373256)

Correction: My apologies, I didn't realize they weren't accepting new users for Gizmo yet. Maybe that's what the Gmail launch is all about.

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 4 years ago | (#33371424)

The thing I don't get is that they don't have any support for SIP (well, there is Gizmo, which is closed to just about everybody). They're inventing fancy web-interfaces for voice calls (anybody know if they work without flash?)

AFAIK, the Google web interfaces are all HTML+CSS+JS.

Re:What is wrong with SIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33372002)

Evils like google dosnt follow standard protocols :)
They have the same intentions like other similar efforts (MSN, Skype, Yahoo, etc).
None of them are using any standard protocol.

And for this to work from the browsers, they can use flash (there is a lot of flash based sip clients) or java applet (like the mizu webphone).

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33372198)

"It seems like Google is tending to take the MS route - they don't just want to provide a service, they want to control how you can access it."

Of course they do. Google is an advertising company. They have no interest at all in providing services to you, they want to provide ads. Everything else is just the means of getting you to look (listen in future?) to the ads.

Re:What is wrong with SIP (1)

u235meltdown (940099) | about 4 years ago | (#33372632)

Well, to think from their perspective... if they allow a service that costs them plenty and is already free to go out of their control, how are they ever going to monetize it?
Don't get me wrong I would love to have a GUI client on my computer to let me call internationally at Google's rates, but then the free calling to US may disappear since they can't pair it with AdSense.

Will They Block Callers They Deem Inappropriate? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33371198)

Will Google be operating this like their search service and blocking you from calling people they deem inappropriate? Google obviously believe they know what I should and should not see so it's natural that they think they should dictate who I speak to.

It's amazing how the "do no evil" corporations is actually one of the most evil corporations on the planet. I'm always looking forward to the day way someone produces a better search engine that shows me all the results, not a list censored by the Google Morality and Political Correctness Gestapo.

Telecoms are going to hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33371522)

I was just looking for a way to avoid paying for voice mail on my cell.

GTalk+Asterisk=WORKS (1)

skliarie (1343721) | about 4 years ago | (#33372036)

Just compiled the latests asterisk from SVN and it WORKS! All my friends can call me at normal handset! I can now call my asterisk from GTalk! At zero configuration! RIP SIP! We barely knew ye... For technically minded: http://svn.digium.com/svn/asterisk/team/phsultan/gmail-voice-video [digium.com]

Common Carrier Defense? (1)

u235meltdown (940099) | about 4 years ago | (#33372296)

So what happens now that two of the 3 points they used to defend themselves against ATT [zdnet.com] are gone?

Re:Common Carrier Defense? (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | about 4 years ago | (#33372628)

One of two things: 1) They give up the fight, which is kind of unlikely. 2) They points out that they still have one point, and money changes hands in the hope they can continue defending themselves.

Why would someone what to talk to my inbox??? (1)

billrp (1530055) | about 4 years ago | (#33372352)

"Google is testing a Web-based service within Gmail that will allow users to place phone calls from their in-boxes."

Re:Why would someone what to talk to my inbox??? (1)

xenapan (1012909) | about 4 years ago | (#33374756)

I dont know about you but my inbox has google search in it. Therefore its all knowing. Or at least all web searching.

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