One of the features of Gmail that is all too often swept under the bus and forgotten about is the ability to call any phone using Google Voice for free. Of course, this only applies for users in the US and Canada, but it’s an awesome feature nonetheless, and one that users should most certainly take advantage of. Well, Gmail users will be able to use the service to make free domestic voice calls for another year, as Google has just announced that is extending the use of the service through all of 2013.
To use the feature in Gmail, simply pop out the chat menu and you will see a little icon that looks like a phone handset. Click this icon, and you will be able to dial any domestic phone number and make a call, just like you were using an actual phone.
If you want to make calls that are not within your domestic region using Google Voice though Gmail you can, but it will not be free. Rates for international calls start off as low as $.02 per minute, depending on where you need to call. Overall, the rates are quite reasonable, and if you only need to make domestic calls, the price of free is about as good as it gets.
This is the not first time Google has extended the free calling period of Google Voice for Gmail users. The service first debuted in 2010, and every year since Google has announced that it is extending the free period through the next year. Will they ever change? Only time will tell, but for the time being, you can certainly enjoy making free calls, as long you live in the US or Canada.