Gmail voice calls will remain free in 2011


— 9:24 AM on December 21, 2010

When Google added voice calling to Gmail this summer, it lured in users by announcing that calls to the U.S. and Canada would be free "in 2010." Hey, four months of free calls isn't a bad deal, right? Well, as Google revealed yesterday on its official blog, Gmail calls to North America are going to remain free just a little bit longer—until the end of 2011.

The firm doesn't provide much of an explanation for the extension. Well, besides this: "In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the new year, we’re extending free calling for all of 2011." I suppose when you rake in a half dozen billion dollars a year in profits, you can afford to give your customers a little Christmas gift now and then.

That Christmas gift is very targeted, of course. In the same post, Google points out that Gmail calling "is currently only available to U.S. based Gmail users." Too bad. I guess I'll have to keep using SkypeOut to avoid those long-distance charges on calls to the States.

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