About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

September 14, 2010

Gmail Call

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 3:29 am

If you are a Gmail user you will have noticed something new in the last couple of weeks. If you did not notice it you must have popup ads blocked on your browser. Google was pretty persistent in letting you know about it. I am not sure of the exact name of the feature since it appears to be part Gmail and part Google Voice. However, since the link to details about it is, I guess we can call it Gmail Call.

It is a contender for the almost monopolistic hold Skype ( had on the internet calling/phone business.

They both allow you to call a phone or computer via their website using their designated add-imageons. Yes, both are free (in the US) and both require you to install software. Do not be too concerned. The software install is pretty painless for both. Since you already have a Gmail account it is a bit easier and quicker to use the Google version.

Gmail Call is very easy to set up. When you are in your Gmail account look down the left side  of the window for a link titled, “Call Phone”. It will be located under your “Chat” section. All you have to do now is click on the link.

If you have not used it previously you will be asked to install the calling software. It took somewhat less than a minute to install it on my system.

The next time you want to try it out simply click the same, “Call Phone” link again. This time you will be presented with a dial pad that looks like it came from a different sort of phone. For instructions and pictures of what to expect go to, “” where you can install the dialer and get more information.

The first day it rolled out I saw it right away since I am on my Gmail account most every day. Of course, I immediately installed it and it worked flawlessly. I naturally called my own cell phone first, just to see how it sounded. Keep in mind I was using my Acer Aspire One netbook’s little speaker to talk to my phone. It sounded very clear. I next left myself a voice mail; also good. Finally I called my wife and once she figured out it was me (coming from a Google phone number) she could hear me, and vice-versa, just fine.

I thought it was a good experience and though I only use my cell phone for calling people, with the video addition to Gmail Call I could be using it more. Google created a funny little cartoon you may want to take a look at about the new feature at, “”.

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