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Google Officially Brings Voice To Gmail

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the talk-away dept.

Google 179

siliconbits writes "Google has finally added voice support to its popular Gmail email service which means that users will soon be able to call landlines and mobiles worldwide for free or for extremely low prices. The announcement was made at a press conference in San Francisco in front of a few selected press members."

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Great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375270)

Now my mom can call me right away to tell me she sent me an email.

Re:Great (0)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375998)

and I thought I was the only one

Re:Great (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376532)

and I thought I was the only one

No, I think all of us have had mothers at some stage in our lives.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376776)

and I thought I was the only one

No, I think all of us have had mothers at some stage in our lives.

I think he meant AC's mom.

Re:Great (5, Funny)

shiftless (410350) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376918)

I think he meant AC's mom.

And we've all had her too

Re:Great (5, Funny)

HydroPhonic (524513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377056)

Isn't that cooler than her shouting down the stairwell?

To remove the annoying phone icon (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375274)

To remove the annoying phone icon: settings>>chat>>google voice (disable outbound voice calling)

Re:To remove the annoying phone icon (1, Funny)

musikit (716987) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375760)

i don't need to worry about that. according to that page it uses flash for rendering video/voice. i removed flash from my browser.

Re:To remove the annoying phone icon (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376058)

That's so kewl!

Re:To remove the annoying phone icon (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376438)

i removed flash from my browser.

You have made quite a statement of principle.

Re:To remove the annoying phone icon (3, Interesting)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376756)

Is it just me, or has GMail strayed pretty far from its original purpose.

It added chat, using Google Talk's XMPP servers.

It recently added voice/video chat using Google Talk's chat protocols.

It added that Buzz feature which is a micro-blogging service like twitter. (You can have your twitter posts become buzz posts, but you cannot subscribe to non-gmail user's twitter feeds, so it is not very useful).

Now it added this talk feature, which is basically a web based VOIP system. You use the GTalk voice chat for in-network talk, this feature for PC to POTS, and optionally use a pre-established Google Voice account for POTS to PC.

Re:To remove the annoying phone icon (4, Insightful)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377132)

Is it just me, or has GMail strayed pretty far from its original purpose

Not if you consider GMail's original purpose was to extend Google's marketing reach. People used to ask - Hasn't Google strayed pretty far from being a search engine?

pretty much as always, you try and expand market share any way you can, even if you are the 181.4 kg gorilla in the room.

Re:To remove the annoying phone icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377378)

Scroll to the bottom and click the "basic HTML" link! Best webmail I've ever used.

Doesn't quite work for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375278)

Entering my mobile phone number and pressing "Call" results in: "We could not complete your call. Please try again."

Thanks for the new feature, Google.

just another trip to the data mine for google (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375302)

no thank you.

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (5, Interesting)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375566)

no thank you.

I have been always wondering, why is the public (over)concerned about Google mining and their users' data, but not Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft et al?

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (3, Insightful)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375824)

I am less concerned about them doing it because there is no secret there. I can be selective about what I do witheir products, or at least aware of what they might have.

It is big corporations that worry me. Big as Google? Maybe, maybe not but who knows how much info banks have on me. If it is as secure as their business models, I am in deep s**t. I know what Google seems to want to do with my info. Pretty much the same as spammers, but G. seems to be better organised. They are probably better organised than Microsoft etc as well and I still believe/hope that they have more principles. At least Google started with the intention of "do no evil". I have not heard many other companies with that motto.

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375950)

Maybe, maybe not but who knows how much info banks have on me.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo et. al. are the least of your worries. So-called data aggregators like Choicepoint, for example, are far more of an issue, privacy-wise, because they don't just profile you with the intent to sell advertising and offer advanced free services. Choicepoint collects everything it can about us, in order to sell that information directly to anyone that can pay for it. No need to worry about security breaches (although Choicepoint has had their share of those) bad guys can just buy your personal info on the open market. Supposedly they only sell data to "legitimate" companies, but they got scammed a few years ago: some ne'er-do-wells set up fake companies so that Choicepoint would sell to them. Not that it cost Choicepoint anything, hell, they made money off the sale.

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376604)

I have not heard many other companies with that motto.

Perhaps because it shouldn't need to be said? Not doing evil is the most basic of human ethics, not something to be proud of. The fact that they use it as a motto actually says a lot - that there is a high possibility of Google naturally being evil, so they have to make efforts keep it in check.

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (5, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377328)

Perhaps because it shouldn't need to be said? Not doing evil is the most basic of human ethics, not something to be proud of.

Seriously? I would submit just the opposite: DOING evil is the most basic of human instincts. At least, when you define "evil" as "whatever gets me more money/power/sex". NOT doing evil means giving up something that you want, in the name of some "greater good" that, likely as not, won't get you laid. Most days, it's hard to find someone who is willing to even give up the ten feet needed so that I can get off the damned highway. That sort of "evil" is humanity's most enduring feature.

For a company to even suggest that "do no evil" is a corporate value is amazing. They may not always reach that standard... but heck, most actual people don't even try.

(Note: there are also theological implications here that I won't get into...)

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375846)

Most of them are apple lovers who now see Google as the enemy no 1 and love to bash them. Of course, they wont have any problem using some other search engine and apps AT ALL.

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (3, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376238)

I have been always wondering, why is the public (over)concerned about Google mining and their users' data, but not Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft et al?

Google are honest and open about what they are collecting. Microsft, Yahoo et al. pretend like they dont collect anything thus Google is doing wrong.

Re:just another trip to the data mine for google (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377982)

There is no such thing as a free lunch, but my personal information isn't priceless, either - and I'm willing to trade parts of it for useful and convenient services that Google provides. Why not?

YAY (5, Interesting)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375342)

and it works in Linux with just a plugin and a browser restart

Now where's the android client?

Almost, but not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375962)

It works in UBUNTU with just a plugin and a browser restart... millions of Fedora, CentOS, gentoo, etc users are still all S.O.L.

Re:Almost, but not quite... (2, Insightful)

clem (5683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376084)

Millions? Really?

Re:Almost, but not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377934)

Really? I just rebooted and tried it in my Gentoo installation. Works perfectly fine.

Re:YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376996)

The install is for Debian-based distributions. Anyone tried on RHEL?

Re:YAY (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377024)

You can download google voice app for Android from the Android Market. It integrates nicely with the dialer, letting you specify rules for when the call should be routed via Google Voice. On my phone I have it configured to dial all international numbers through GV.

Re:YAY (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377160)

More importantly: Where's the Germany client?
Captcha: trapped. I always fall for these. god dammit.

Re:YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377684)

That should be it works in Ubuntu with just a plugin and browser restart. In other distros, you're in for a world of hurt, especially if you don't have PulseAudio.

Defeats the purpose for me (5, Funny)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375344)

I send e-mail so I don't have to talk to people. It's the same reason I text.

Re:Defeats the purpose for me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375608)

Defeats what purpose? Email still works...

But.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375364)

...it's not working on my iPhone!! What gives???

encrytion issues (5, Informative)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375370)

Last time I checked Google voice services did not support encryption. Unless they are talking about implementing security measures similar to Skype, I am not interested.

Re:encrytion issues (4, Informative)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375526)

Skype doesn't give you a free phone number and also doesn't allow you to make/recieve calls to landlines for free. Google Voice + Google Call can essentially replace a landline (except for 911) and if they bring this to android you could technically get a phone with only a data plan. I just tried it and it works nicely on linux. They should update the google voice extension so you can receive & make calls w/o needing to have gmail open but I'm sure that will come later. The call quality wasn't always great but overall it's a great addition that unlike buzz & wave is immediately useful to me.

good (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375764)

FUCK bell canada

Re:encrytion issues (4, Interesting)

Recovery1 (217499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376258)

Unfortunately the Google Voice part only works in the United States. You can still make phone calls out with it to Canada but no incoming calls or any of the features in Google Voice. I has a sad :(

Re:encrytion issues (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376800)

Now you need to ask yourself WHY they're giving you these things for free (and if they're going to stay free). It's not free for them.

I'd rather pay Skype the $4 a month, thanks. Not to mention Google Voice isn't even available.

Re:encrytion issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377582)

Why would people even bother with this? SIP phone + provider == cheap phone calls. For example, callwithus.com calls are 1 cent per minute to US/Canada. Canada is now @ $0.005/min ($0.30/h). No monthly fees. And if I want a phone number somewhere, I can just buy it with them or someone else if they don't have it.

Flexibility. That's what SIP gives you.

Google is giving away voice termination in US/Canada because it is,
    1. cheap
    2. advertising of their service
    3. undercutting competition
    4. they are making money on international calls

PS. My SIP phones look just like a regular phone. No dependence on some piece of software in a browser. No dependence on Skype proprietary standards either.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

Haymaker (1664103) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377854)

if you're in the US, I can throw you an invite if you don't have it.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377860)

I just hope google phone doesn't do everything ooma does, I just paid like $225 for that :)

Re:encrytion issues (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377090)

Even if you have a Skype number, you can't configure Skype to show your Skype number in Caller ID whereas I just tried calling via Google Voice does display my Google Voice number. This broadcasting of who I am is more important to me than the encryption issue for everyday use. And, I don't have a handle on Skype's encryption to trust it anyway...

Re:encrytion issues (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375538)

How are you going to call landlines and mobiles with encryption? Have you got like 2 friends you've convinced to use it too?

Re:encrytion issues (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375610)

Software encryption is for pussies. My friends and I are hardcore, we use ebonics for encryption.
Fade it or be smoke, bitch.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375582)

Good thinking, Mr. Bond.

Re:encrytion issues (5, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375652)

Skype uses a closed, secret protocol. It may or may not be properly encrypted. There may or may not be intentional backdoors.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

scotty.m (1881826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376176)

The government dept I work for now (and previously) don't allow skype.. wonder why. Just because a protocol is secret, doesn't make it secure.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376318)

Government departments don't allow all sorts of programs that work just fine. Some of our clients are the FCC and the DOJ. Those guys can barely install anything, and it has zero to do with whether or not the software is secure.

Re:encrytion issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376406)

Uhg my company does a lot of business with the DOJ. They are about 4 years behind in updating one of our products which they use heavily but is now woefully out of date. They can't update because they can't use anything they haven't tested and they can't test anything because it would have to be approved before they could test it.

Re:encrytion issues (4, Informative)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376350)

Might be because skype is p2p based and there is law that bans p2p in certain areas of government because people were unintentionally sharing gov't files. Why your Senator can't Skype [cnn.com]

Re:encrytion issues (3, Interesting)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376530)

Skype uses a closed, secret protocol. It may or may not be properly encrypted. There may or may not be intentional backdoors.

Furthermore, even if it is properly encrypted and there are no intentional backdoors, it is unlikely that the implementation is as secure against side-channel attacks as peer-reviewed software would be. In principle, no small, closed team of coders should be expected to be clever enough to catch every possible bug or weakness. Security through obscurity and all that.

(And just because the last two Slashdot threads I read on the subject had commenters who misunderstood "security through obscurity", let me just head it off now: keeping a password or key secret is not security through obscurity. "No obscurity" means keeping nothing secret except the key—that is, the algorithms, protocols, and source code are all disclosed.)

Re:encrytion issues (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377240)

/me plays Devil's Advocate:

Just 'cause the crypto's closed-source doesn't mean that it's not lifted in its entirety from peer-reviewed software.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

General Newcomb (743341) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377042)

Malvin: I can't believe it, Jim. That girl's standing over there listening and you're telling him about our back doors?

Re:encrytion issues (2, Informative)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377542)

Actually, it's KNOWN there are back doors. Well, at least one. I can't remember which government gave it away, I think it was probably Germany. In any case, it's known that there is a back door, which at the very least government agencies of the alphabet soup kind have access.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375682)

What makes you think that Skype doesn't open your communications to third parties (governments for example)?

Re:encrytion issues (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376272)

Even if they do, how does that invalidate GP's arugment? How is Skype's pseudo encryption worse than Google's no encryption? Most people are not important enough for the government to snoop, but not unimportant enough for some random guy at an internet cafe trying to grab CCNs/passwords/trade secrets from someone on a business trip in a foreign country...

Re:encrytion issues (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376728)

I don't know about the VOIP portion, but Google Voice is https only for me. Maybe it's that I have the "always encrypt" option turned on in Gmail, but I thought that was deprecated at this point and they required all connections to be secure.

Re:encrytion issues (1)

JimWise (1804930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376738)

Encryption does not really come in to play for how Google is handling the service. Once the call is set up it is phone-to-phone, it is NOT through either user's computer. You can start the call through your computer, but then it just calls your phone, when you pick up it calls the other person and takes the end user's computer out of the picture. This is VERY nice since you are not tied to your computer. You can have it call your cell or your land line, and if you have a cordless phone you are free to roam around your house/yard while on free/inexpensive long distance calls. It also adds extra perks such as if someone calls your new Google phone number it can ring your home, cell, and office phones simultaneously. The caller doesn't have to worry about figuring out which one to try to call first and if you aren't by that phone try another one of your numbers. It also lets you get a text message and e-mail when someone leaves voice mail, and you can get a text transcription of it or listen to it on-line. Listening to an voice-mail on-line is the only aspect that I guess could involve any sort of encryption.

is there a way to use this with a sip client? (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375392)

I doubt it, but I recall something about some voice service google providing using a standard method

Re:is there a way to use this with a sip client? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375938)

I dumped the traffic from a test call and I don't see any SIP.

Spam? (4, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375446)

At first, I kinda wondered if Gmail was going to call me and read my email to me.

That's just what I need. Ring ring... "Greetings. We are pleased to inform you of our new pharmaceutical offerings in your area..."

Re:Spam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376030)

Actually, there's an Android app that does just that - it reads incoming e-mails out loud. Well, sender's name and subject, only - but that can be embarassing enough, when you forgot to silence your phone and it starts reading out a spam mail in public... "Re: your shipment of viagra", or "vanessa dot whantingmoore at yahoo dot com writes... Re: looking for horny slut"

Re:Spam? (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376368)

and after the recent wireless furore...

Ring ring... "Greetings. We are pleased to inform you of our new stock of haemorroid cream has just arrived at your local West Field pharmacy, just 400 yards south from your door step. Joes corner store that you will pass on the way is having two-for-one Coke Day."

Mobiles too? (2, Interesting)

Drakeness (1882280) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375490)

Well, if that's the news... I've heard about it some time ago, but I though it was only for internet conversation... You know, the Skype kind... But reading this, I think it's going to be really great =P...

Re:Mobiles too? (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375618)

Yeah, I heard about it too. [slashdot.org]

It Begins - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375570)

I've been following the next telecommunications giant, Google, for some time. This is the first step in what will probably be a swift journey to the top of the industry for them - and will cause tremendous upset among incumbent carriers. The recent bickering over Net Neutrality will soon come to a head, and all of that dark fiber that Google's been buying over the years will have another fine use. Of course, what they won't tell you is how their advertising machinery (and various domestic and foreign government agencies) will be bugging your phone calls. Their executives have been very candid lately with how proud they are of their ability to build dossiers for everyone on the Internet and how no one escapes the unblinking gaze of Google. An eager public will leap once again into the arms of our corporate Big Brother.

Needless to say, the creeping spread of Google continues unabated. Bring on the anti-trust suits, and bust them and the incumbent telecommunications companies up in one fell swoop. That's the only reason that I'm eager to see this plan come to fruition, because once they start stepping on the toes of Ma-Bell and the like they'll be impossible to ignore. Meanwhile, the discussion on common carrier status is likely to return. If it all goes well, they'll all be taken down a peg. (Our easements, our rights of way, our subsidies, our cables!) If not, this could culminate some years down the line in a bifurcation of our infrastructure, with Google's advanced but privacy-free networks on one side and the POTS on the other. We'll see.

Global? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375684)

I'm curious, are there any limitations on who can sign up for a Gmail account and now have free phone access to the US and Canada? Should I expect to start receiving massive numbers of calls from all over the world from everyone with a gmail account? It was never expensive, but I always suspected that the reason I didn't get dozens of phone calls from the depths of [obscure country X] was because it was too expensive to just go through every phone number in the country and spam them.

Next feature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375704)

What are they going to add next? Faxing?

Re:Next feature? (4, Interesting)

Recovery1 (217499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376382)

Actually that would be a very smart idea. There is still a lot of people out there who have to keep a landline for faxing. While there is services on the internet that already do faxing, you either have to charge a fee for it or put up with advertisements. Plus there is no inbound faxing on them.

It would be nice to use that Google Voice (which as of writing this is still sadly not available here in Canada) to receive faxes through your phone number and have them pop up as an email with an attachment or something. They already have the infrastructure in place with Google Voice, adding a fax service to it I don't think would be too far of a stretch.

Re:Next feature? (1)

Recovery1 (217499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376396)

I stand corrected. I just got looking around at some of the services and I guess they do have incoming faxes. But it looks like you have to pay for that service too.

Re:Next feature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377016)

Why are people still using fax?!

Re:Next feature? (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377182)

For some of them they have figured out that a $35 fax machine doesn't break as often as the $350 computer their friends are using. Also the employees tend to spend a lot less time faxing porn back and forth.

I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377354)

Receiver: "Can you fax me that invoice? The number is (555)555-5555"
Sender: "I have a fax machine but no fax line."
Receiver: "It's ok, you can set one up for free through google."
--hours later--
Sender: "I'm having trouble faxing this, can you log into my google account and do it for me?"
Receiver: "Sure, just email me the PDF and i'll print and fax it to myself."
Sender: "Thanks! So glad we have all this technology"

Re:Next feature? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377916)

Yeah, Faxes. Not like they were 20 years ago.

Today: Type a letter on computer, print it to the laser/inkjet, go to the fax machine, dial a number send it to the far side.

Recipient gets the fax, walks over to the scanner or fax machine takes the image, and converts it to PDF, and forwards it by email to boss, who prints it out on the Laser/inkjet.

A fax, how quaint.

I can access this from Canada (2, Interesting)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375770)

I'm in Canada and this feature is working through Gmail for me, though it could just be a temporary glitch. I also got into voice.google.com immediately after making the first call (it only showed call history, wouldn't let me set up a Google Voice number), but I'm locked out again now.

Re:I can access this from Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377896)

Yes, they say US and Canada are free with Gmail. But you still can't get a Google Voice call-in number for Canada from Google, at any price (unless you were one of the lucky few grandfathered from GrandCentral). So it's still Skype or MagicJack for us lowly Canucks.

Re:I can access this from Canada (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33378000)

Well, they actually say that calling Canada is free, not that calling from Canada is free.

Voice Changer Plugin Needed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375828)

I want a built in voice changer with Wookie and Jawa options, the first for marriage topics, the second for hush hush conversations about han shooting first and how well my cocoa butter performs under stress tests.

Re:Voice Changer Plugin Needed! (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376894)

not builtin but... if you google screaming bee voice you should see some software to do VoiceChanging

AT&T Compaint against Google (0, Offtopic)

PineHall (206441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33375886)

Earlier today in "Google testing voice calling in Gmail" [slashdot.org] , u235meltdown brought up a very good point [slashdot.org] about how this creates a problem for Google defending itself against AT&T [zdnet.com] who says Google Voice should have Common Carrier status. This destroys Google's arguments.

Re:AT&T Compaint against Google (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376456)

Earlier today in "Google testing voice calling in Gmail" [slashdot.org] , u235meltdown brought up a very good point [slashdot.org] about how this creates a problem for Google defending itself against AT&T [zdnet.com] who says Google Voice should have Common Carrier status. This destroys Google's arguments.

Does it? Does Google provide the connectivity?

Direct Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33375916)

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/call-phones-from-gmail.html [blogspot.com]
The "IPProPortal" link just generates hits for that site while adding nothing. Slashdot got played.

So, Google gets to know who you call, their number, and when (in relation to everything else you're doing on Google). In exchange for selling this information about yourself and the person you're calling you get low rates. Or at least lower than using the cell on your desk. Depending on distance called, and your cell deal.

I guess a lot of people will be fine with that. I'm not keen on how it puts the person called into their system.

it doesnt work! (1)

EasyComputer (797633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376046)

I just downloaded the app, and I can't call anyone! Guess this shouldn't have come out of Google Labs just yet.

4chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33376280)

I bet /b/tards will be having a lot of fun now with this new service.

I don't get it -- what's in it for Google? (2, Interesting)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376434)

How do they make money off this?

Is someone going to be softly muttering advertisements in the background during my conversations?

Will the advertisements change to track the subject of the conversation?

Is this going to get really creepy, really quickly?

Re:I don't get it -- what's in it for Google? (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376584)

It's Google. They're probably selling your phone calls to the Chinese government.

Re:I don't get it -- what's in it for Google? (3, Informative)

xannik (534808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376602)

I think this could help propel their social networking adoption rates as you will need to have a gmail account to sign up. I love the convenience of Buzz as I am a current gmail user, but Facebook obviously has the lion's share of the social networking market. If Google can get more people signed up to Buzz they can deliver more targeted advertisements as they learn more about the habits of their users through social networking. This further increases the value of AdSense and AdMob.

Also, they serve up ads at the top of gmail itself, not to mention I'm sure they could mine data of users' phone calls. They have great voice-to-text technology for Android that I am sure they could re-purpose for analytical uses. :-)

Re:I don't get it -- what's in it for Google? (5, Insightful)

Torontoman (829262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377468)

They make money by driving people into their product and disrupting other companies. It's awesome really how disruptive Google is to competitors. They're making a larger argument for getting rid of a landline and even in time a voice plan... hell... if wi-fi is available you don't even need a data plan just a tablet or laptop with wifi. Voila - free phone calls and you're even more in love with Google. It's a very disruptive scenario they've sprung on the telcos today. By increasing reliability and acquiring more behaviour from you - they know everything you do in another aspect of your life. It's easy with that info to target you with ads, or sell a connection with you to a company. **prediction** - this will interface with Google streetview some day. You'll be able to simply 'walk' down a street and click on a house or company to call. There goes all phone book / yellow pages cos. Businesses will be buying the virtual real estate on Streetview. GPS - Geolocation - you'll be able to simply ask your phone "Where is the closest (insert store here) and it'll dial that phone number for you.

Great, a new browser plugin. (3, Funny)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376472)

What, HTML5 isn't good enough? </snark>

When will it be on phones? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376510)

When will this be on android phones? I want a data only plan, no reason to pay for voice minutes.

Re:When will it be on phones? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376824)

Good luck with that. Cell carriers know that their voice plans are dead weight now. Very profitable dead weight. Notice how the iPad has a data only plan and the sim cards are disabled so they won't work in a regular phone?

Per minute cost range (1)

JimWise (1804930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376684)

I checked out the range of costs charged by this service. It was nice to see that Canada was free, the UK, Japan and most of Europe just $0.02/min. I was surprised that Thuraya was 18.5 times as expensive as remote, war-torn Afghanistan though ($4.99/min vs $0.27/min.) They must be suffering under horrendous political and geographical situations there. I had never heard of Thuraya before, had to look it up on Google.

Re:Per minute cost range (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376980)

*Every* carrier charges something like $4.99/min to Afghanistan. Thuraya just happens to be one of the crappier ones. (Don't use their satellite phones--they SUCK.) Afghanistan actually has surprisingly good cell phone coverage, but few or no landlines due to its ruggedness.

Next steps? (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33376780)

2011: You wake to find Gmail techs installing a camera in your bedroom so people you have no intention of contacting again can watch you sleep.

2014: Gmail now pays for a plane ticket for a relative/friend who you haven't talked to in a while to visit (based on how often you chat to them).

2030: Gmail clones a soulmate for you (based on conversations you've had using it's service), and delivers it to your door.

Limited to 50 SMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377382)

This seems to be limited to 50 free outgoing sms messages.

Re:Limited to 50 SMS (1)

Mizery De Aria (554294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377410)

However, it also seems to reset back to 50 when you receive a response back.

I know a cheaper option (1)

freakxx (987620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33377690)

www.callwithus.com

It's 4 times cheaper to my country:
      Google rate: US$0.06/min
      Callwithus rate: US$0.015/min

I didn't thoroughly compare the rates to all other countries one-by-one, but it looks relatively cheaper than what Google has to offers.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33377862)

I'll stick with Skype thank you.

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