Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) July 20 rolled out a service to augment its phone calling capability in Gmail by letting users make multiple calls at the same time.
The search giant surprised users last August when it launched calling capability in Gmail, which leverages the company's Google Voice phone management application and voice and video plug-in.
Google lets U.S. users call anywhere in the U.S. and Canada for free and make international calls for pennies per minute. Gmail users took up the service with gusto, logging 10 million calls through the first week.
To this stage, the service only allowed users to make or receive one call at a time. Google is relaxing that restriction to enable multiple call making or reception. Moreover, it has added buttons to let users pause and resume calls.
Here's how it works. If a user is in the middle of a Gmail call and opts to make a second one, the initial call will be placed on hold while the user switches over to the second call. Users may switch between calls by pressing the Resume button on the call they want to talk on, and hold the previous call.
Users who receive a call while on another call will see a notification of the incoming call, and accept it or ignore it. Naturally, if a user takes the new call, the previous conversation will go into hold mode.
While this multiple calls feature works across all voice, video and phone calls, Google said only up to two outgoing calls may be placed at once to physical phones.
While Gmail has roughly 200 million users worldwide, Google has declined to say how many users are currently enjoying the Gmail calling feature, which is limited to U.S. users only.
The company has done little to market it outside of announcing last December that the service would be free to U.S. users for the remainder of 2011.