Google’s Holiday Gift to You: Free Phone Calls in 2012


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Google (Stock Quote: GOOG) is giving its users an early Christmas present this year.

The company announced on its blog Tuesday that it is extending its free phone call service on Gmail through 2012 for anyone in the United States and Canada. The feature has been free since it launched in August 2010, but this is the second year in a row that Google has promised to keep it free for at least the following year.

For those who haven’t used the calling feature, it functions just like other Internet calling services like Skype. When users open up their Google email account, they will see a chat window in the bottom left of their screen with an option to “Call Phone.” That option brings up a keypad which you can dial to get in touch with anyone in the U.S. or Canada for free. If you need to make a call to someone in another country, you can do so for as little as 2 cents a minute.

So if you’re looking for ways to cut down on your cellphone minutes or long distance calling charges in the new year, here’s your big chance.

Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.

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