Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Aug. 2 said it has launched Gmail calling capabilities in 38 new languages, allowing users to purchase calling credit in Canadian dollars, British pounds or euros in addition to U.S. dollars.
The search giant integrated its Google Voice phone-management technology into Gmail last August, allowing U.S. users to make free domestic calls and low-cost international calls with this voice and video plug-in.
It won't be mistaken for a landline or smartphone, but Gmail calling is coming along. Google last month added the ability to make multiple calls from Gmail at once, as well as the ability to let users pause and resume calls.
To promote the new international calling, Google is also lowering its calling rates to over 150 destinations.
It now costs 10 cents per minute to call mobile phones in the U.K., France or Germany; 15 cents a minute to call mobile phones in Mexico; and 2 cents a minute to call any phone number in China and India.
Calls to the U.S. or Canada placed within those countries will be free through 2011. Calls to the U.S. or Canada placed from outside these countries will be charged 1 cent per minute. See the rates here.
Moreover, Google Voice Product Manager Vincent Paquet told VentureBeat the refreshed product "offers better quality with echo cancellation, better sound quality and noise reduction." That should clear up some of the tinny sounds coming out of Gmail calling users' desktop computer speakers.
Google is rolling out this feature over the next few days. Gmail users in countries outside the U.S. will know if it's available in their country when they see a green phone icon at the top of their chat list.
Administrators for Google Apps domains must have Google Voice and Google Checkout enabled in the admin control panel to use this feature.
U.S. Gmail users took up the Gmail calling service with gusto last year, logging 10 million calls through the first week.
With Google users around the globe clamoring for Google Voice capabilities as an alternative to Skype, it's likely the company will see a huge boost in calls from abroad.