Google Reaches 1 Million Calls On New Gmail VoIP Service

Google seems to have struck a chord with its new VoIP calling service delivered via Gmail.

"Over 1,000,000 calls placed from Gmail in just 24 hours," according to a Google tweet.

The new calling service, which was made available to users in the U.S. on Wednesday, enables Gmail users to call each other for free from anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Eventually, users will be able to make inexpensive calls to other countries around the world ranging from 2 cents to $4.99 per minute.

The VoIP service uses Gmail as an interface, and users can essentially call each other through their computers. Users also have the option of integrating Google Voice, and can call both wireless or land line phones.

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The new Google service markets itself as an attractive alternative to making expensive long distance calls, registering for a Skype account or even taking the time to put a phone up to your ear.

To bolster its recent launch, Google will also be installing old fashioned phone booths in airports and universities around the U. S., where users can pick up a handset that looks like an old fashioned dilatory phone and make a free call to anywhere in the country or Canada, according to CNet.

The new Google service will certainly make a dent in the VoIP market and give Skype a run for its money simply due to is sheer size and marketshare.

However, some analysts said that the new Google calling service lacks features that could truly make it competitive in the enterprise -- like the fact that it's not accessible as a part of a Google's business software package and users can't use the calling featuring from mobile browsers, Businessweek reported.

And a Google spokesperson told Businessweek that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has no immediate plans to offer the service on mobile devices.

That doesn't hold true for Skype, which made a deal with Verizon Wireless to install Web calling software on mobile phones that won't require uses to drain their wireless minutes.

However, others speculate that Google is not going after the Skype market, but is simultaneously finding more ways to integrate with Gmail and Google Voice while possibly setting the stage for anticipated competition with Facebook, in light of rumors that the search engine giant will launch its own social networking site.