Is It Worth Using Gmail To Make Phone Calls?

As part of a global expansion of its phone-calling capabilities, Google has lowered the rates for making phone calls through Gmail. How do they stack up price-wise if you want to make calls in Australia?

Australia still isn’t an officially supported destination for full-blown Google Voice, so you can’t associate a local phone number with a Google account. If you just want to make calls, however, you can do that through Gmail. The feature is being rolled out gradually; if it’s been enabled in your account, you’ll see a green phone icon above your chat contact list. (You’ll also need Google’s voice and video plugin, which you’ll already have if you’re using Hangouts or video chat.)

For calls to Australian numbers, Google charges $US0.02 a minute for landlines, $US0.14 for mobiles and $US0.10 for satellite numbers. Those rates are pretty similar to casual-access VOIP services and would save you money on cheaper calls, but are more than you’d pay for most dedicated VOIP services, which generally don’t time calls to landlines. For comparison, Skype charges $0.019 cents a minute for landlines and $0.168 cents a minute for mobiles, which is ever-so-slightly cheaper and in Australian currency.

The call rates above are quoted in US dollars, but you can also buy credit in Euros, UK pounds or Canadian dollars. Those options would probably only be handy if you happen to have a credit card for one of those countries though.

Calling from Gmail now in 38 languages, with lower rates to over 150 destinations [The Official Google Blog]

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