Google said Sept. 1 Gmail users made more than 10 million calls through its new Call Phones from Gmail feature since it launched a week ago.
Launched Aug. 25, Call Phones from Gmail lets users place calls to contacts directly from Gmail. Calls placed from Gmail in the United States and Canada are free and start at 2 cents per minute outside those countries.
The tool, which requires Google’s voice and video plug-in, lets users click a Call Phone link. This opens a window with a dialer keypad. Users may began typing the names of their contacts to call, or enter a number and click to dial the contact’s mobile phone or landline.
Some of Gmail’s 180 million or so users tried out the service, resulting in 1 million calls placed from Gmail in 24 hours.
That pace picked up, with more than 10 million calls lodged in the first seven days since the VOIP tool’s release, Google Voice Product Marketing Manager Michael Bolognino said.
Google Voice users using Call Phones from Gmail have their personal Google Voice number displayed as their caller ID, thanks to Gmail’s integration with that phone management application.
Bolognino offered tips Google Voice users can employ to set up Gmail to receive calls via their Google Voice number.
Google Voice users may navigate to Google Voice, click on settings and check the box next to Google Chat in their list of forwarding phones.
This will allow Voice users to make and receive calls to their Google Voice number from Gmail and access features such as call screening.
Google Voice and Gmail Together at Last
For users who can’t place the number they’re receiving a call from, users can click the “screen” button and the caller will be sent to voicemail to let the Google Voice user listen to it on the sly.
Google Voice users who pick up a call in Gmail but don’t have time to chat at home can hit the asterisk on the Gmail dialer during the call to send the call to their mobile phone.
Users may also press 4 on the Gmail dial pad to record a call, clicking 4 again to record or hang up.
Call Phones from Gmail won’t be mistaken for the polish and functionality of Skype’s VOIP service, but its early adoption is promising, particularly with the continued integration of Call Phones with the Google Voice phone management application.
With Call Phones from Gmail, Google Voice and the Gmail voice and video chat capabilities it’s become increasingly clear Google has a comprehensive VOIP platform on its hands, in practice if not in marketing speak.
Google’s latest moves have sufficiently impressed Caris and Company analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, who wrote in an Aug. 26 research note:
“We think this is among the top low-hanging non-core search opportunities for Google, besides YouTube, Display, Apps and Mobile Net/Android,” Aggarwal wrote.
“The global communication industry is $1.4 trillion including voice at $1 trillion. Even if Google just scratches the surface with its new offering, this could be a sizable incremental opportunity.”
Indeed, while Google may make some money on international calls, this will be wiped clean in the cost to exchanges who connect these calls wherever they are supported.
Google is likely hammering out new ways to advertise against these services and could possibly add some click-to-call adds for these services in the future.