Updated: A Google representative writes in:
“Thanks for covering the calling from Gmail news. Just a clarification – this is actually an expansion of the calling from Gmail feature, not an expansion of Google Voice. Call Phones from Gmail allows you to use your computer to call any phone number. Google Voice is a separate product that helps users manage their phones and voicemail directly on the web, and is currently available only in the US. Google Voice allows users to unify all of their telephones with a single number, gives them more control over all of their phone and voice-based communications, and makes it easy for them to access this information from anywhere on the web — by phone or by email.”
A bit confusing, especially since the news was posted on the official Google Voice blog. In any case: International folks have another competitively priced calling option, which is always a good thing.
Good news for Google fans outside of the states: Google Voice—the popular calling service that allows users to redirect calls to their cell phones, landlines and Gmail—is finally available outside of the U.S.
In a post on the Google blog, the company stated that the service is now available in 38 new languages in over 150 destinations around the world. Google Voice features no connection fees, and consumers only pay for the time they actually use.
“Last year, we made it possible for those of you in the U.S. to call any mobile phone or landline directly from Gmail and starting today, we are making this available to many more of you who use Gmail outside the U.S. by offering calling in 38 new languages,” writes Google Product Manager Pierre Lebeau. “We’re rolling out this feature over the next few days, so if it’s available in your country you’ll see a little green phone icon show up at the top of your chat list and you’ll be ready to make calls (you’ll need to install the voice and video plug-in if you haven’t already).”
Consumers can purchase credit in euro, British pounds, and Canadian or U.S. dollars. The rates (which you can see in their entirety here) are priced competitively below major telephone companies, though they’re still a few cents more than Skype’s. But is Google Voice a better international alternative? That’s debatable, at least for now.
On the other hand, Google Voice users will get added functionality, including the ability to direct calls to multiple devices at a time, call screening, voicemail, and text message transcriptions to voice messages (super handy, especially if you’re at your computer at work). You can choose to use your own mobile number, or sign up for a brand new one.
Click here to learn more.