December 27, 2012
Google Promises To Extend Free Voice Calls In 2013
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The ever benevolent Google announced this week that they´ll continue to extend free voice calling via Gmail through 2013. Taking the emotional tack, Google has said that those in Canada and the US can continue to “connect with friends and family” for free through next year. For those outside the upper-half of North America, Google is still promising global calling via Gmail at “insanely low rates.”
That Google Mail users will be able to place free calls through the service is a lovely incentive, if not an expected one. Google first rolled out the service in 2010. At the end of each year since, the search giant has announced they´ll be offering the service for free throughout the following year, keeping their users tied in for at least a dozen more months.
This service, called Google Voice, offers both voice and video calls between Gmail users. As Gmail users are a dime a dozen, it´s likely a majority of those you´d want to call or video chat with are available on the service. With Google´s huge presence and massive user base, many had claimed Google Voice would be a “Skype-Killer” when it was first launched. Google Voice started off strongly, with more than 1 million calls placed within the first 24 hours of its launch.
Google Voice´s VoIP service also works on mobile devices, such as Android and iPhones. This means reaching a Gmail contact is as easy as clicking their name in their profile. Plus, with VoIP services, calls placed while on a Wi-Fi network do not subtract from those minutes on your cell plan, should you be monitoring them closely.
The old saying, “You always get what you pay for” still stands true, of course. As such, some sites have noted that Google Voice is not without flaws. It´s likely Google itself is aware of Voice´s shortcomings, noting earlier this year that once the service reaches a certain level of quality, they´ll begin charging its users.
As such, yesterday´s announcement can be seen as a nod that they´ve yet to improve the service to their own standards and will keep it free for at least another year.
Now all that´s left to be seen is if 2013 is the year Google decides to improve this service or if it will “hangout” on the back burner for yet another year.