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Now you can phone people using Gmail

A new Gmail voice feature lets you call phone numbers. It's free for calls within the United States and Canada.

By Dan HopeTechNewsDaily Staff Writer / August 25, 2010

Google announced a new Gmail feature that allows voice calls to phones.

Newscom/File

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Gmail is constantly gaining new features, but the latest one is completely unprecedented. Google released a voice calling feature that brings instant VoIP calls to the Gmail interface.

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Google has made it possible to not only call other computers over VoIP (VoIP allows users to place calls over an internet connection rather than a traditional landline), but other phone numbers as well, all from the Gmail inbox.

"We’ve been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant, to placing a call when you’re in an area with bad reception," the company said on the company blog.

This sort of functionality dramatically increases the usefulness of Gmail as a communications hub. The Google Chat window, on the left side, is used as a simple contacts list for calling.

Google already has a desktop VoIP service called Google Talk. This new service makes VoIP calling even more accessible, though. It also means a faster way to make free calls to numbers in the U.S. or Canada.

Of course, Google refuses to confirm or deny anything at the moment.