Will Gmail Phone Call Become Skype Killer?

gmail voice phone call screenshot

Google Gmail announced that now you can call landline and mobile phone numbers using Gmail voice and video chat. Yes, Gmail is now VOIP service provider!

Calls to the U.S. and Canada will be FREE for at least the rest of the year 2010. Calls to other countries will be billed at a very low rates, starting from USD$0.02/minute.

To dial a phone number, you click on the “Call phone” menu in the Gmail sidebar chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name. Google call phone works with your Google Voice phone number, if you have one.

Google phone call currently only available for U.S. based Gmail users. You will need to install the Google voice and video plugin. Google Apps users need to wait a little bit longer.

Outside US? Pray harder so that Gmail make it available to you soon.

Skype killer wannabe?

I sensed that Google Gmail wants to be the next Skype, the current largest Internet telephony provider. Gmail call phone rates are mostly, if not all, cheaper than Skype’s rates.

For example, calling Malysia mobile number is 4 cents/minute using Gmail phone call, but Skype will charge 6.7cent + connection fee.

Plus, Gmail has the competitive registered users. According to BBC, there are 400 million registered Gmail users (Feb 2010). Skype have 560 million users at end of 2009, it should have over 600 million users by now.

It is also very convenient that you can make a call straight from your email inbox (Gmail or Google Apps).

If Gmail call phone wants to kill Skype, then Google needs to have native client for desktop and mobile devices, either official developed or 3rd party software.

Skype has done a great job in cross platform support. They have official Skype client for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, even on TV!

Do you agree?

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