December 17, 2017

How to Make Phone Calls from Inside GMail

Old PhoneSkype, an internet based phone service lets Americans talk to each other free and charges a couple of pennies per minute for long distance. Google is introducing an Internet phone service built into its Gmail interface service. Even though it is promoted as Gmail's video chat it's for anyone who wants to make a phone call with or without video. It works by opening a small window with a telephone-style keypad and box for typing people's names found in the Gmail address book.

To use the phone feature, you must first install a plug-in from Google which works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, the Google Chrome browser and Safari from Apple on Macs.

The phone uses your computer's built-in microphone and speakers or a U.S.B. headset to pick up voice. Once the plug-in has been installed and configured to the correct audio gear, making calls is as simple as dialing an old phone. All receiving calls will see the caller ID 760 705 8888 which is Google's outbound caller number.

To receive calls withing Gmail, you'll need to sign up with Google Voice and be assigned a number to track you incoming calls. Like Skype, prices are hard to beat. All calls withing the USA and Canada are free. Other calls to outside countries average from around 2 cents a minute to 77 cents a minute to North Korea.

If you're already on Skype and Gmail you need only one Web page and one address book that combines e-mail, IM-style chat and phone. Most would agree that Internet phone call has better voice quality than cellphone.