Another reason why Gmail is such a fantastic web email!
You can now make a phone call right from the Google Chat in your Gmail.
Google has integrated Google Voice to Google Chat.
To make a call right from your computer in Gmail, all you have to do is
click on the little phone icon under your own username in Google Chat. A number pad will pop up and you can dial any phone in the US or Canada for free till the end of the year. Totally awesome! It will be interesting to see what the cost will be after the end of the year.
The Google Chat feature integrates with your Google Voice account too!
In Google Voice, you can now specify your Google Chat as one of the phones to ring when you receive a Google Voice call. So now, my cell phone rings, my home office phone rings, and my computer rings when I get a call on my Google Voice number. I can answer that call on either phone or from Google Chat.
[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWxaiENAL4k” type=”youtube”]Google Add Phone Calls to Gmail[/mc]
You can use your Google Voice contact list for choosing numbers to call. Also, just typing in the name of someone on your contact list in the numberpad search box will bring up the numbers in your contact list.
Voice quality was very good when I tested this.
Calls were very clear. I did not have any drop out where the VOIP packets got lost over the internet causing missing words. The call was crystal clear and with no background noise at all. I am thinking I may drop my other VOIP phone line I have for my home office.
Now, obviously there are a few things you need to use this new feature in Google Chat.
You will need a computer, a headset, and a Google Gmail account to make calls with Google Chat.
If you want to use your Google Voice number and Google chat as a normal phone line, you’ll need to keep the computer on too. Don’t forget that you can still send the calls in Google Voice to any other phone.
If you don’t have a Gmail account, what in the world are you waiting for? Go to the Google Home Page and click on the Gmail link on the upper right when it appears. Sign up for Google voice also as this will add extra features and get you a number others can call you at.
For the best call quality, you will need a headset to attach to your computer. Obviously, you can’t really make a phone call without a microphone and speakers. What is not so obvious is that using speakers with a microphone may cause an annoying echo. At the very least if your using a separate microphone you should use a pair of headphones. A decent headset will work best as you will hear with the earphones built in and the microphone will be kept close and at the same distance to your mouth.
If you need a headset, I recommend the Logitech headsets. I have had good luck with both an inexpensive Logitech headset and the more expensive Logitech Premium USB Notebook Headset. I use the USB headset on my laptop and the cheaper one on my desktop. You can take a look at the following:
Logitech H110 Stereo Headset
Here’s the USB headset:
Logitech H555 Supra-aural Headset
Newegg seems to have a refurbished version of the USB headset for just a bit more than the less expensive model – it could be a great deal:
Logitech 980445-0403R Supra-aural Premium Notebook Headset
This is just another feature Google has added to Gmail.
While Google really hit this one out of the park, there are a lot of other reasons you may want to look at using Gmail. It has a lot of advantages over many of the other web email services. You can get more info on this new feature at Google’s blog.