Google has a new toy for gmail users effective immediately. It's the aptly called "Call phones". Call phones is buried in the left hand nav bar within G-mail. But, it allows you to make calls from computers to phones, unlike Google Voice and Video chat that only accomodate computer to computer calls.

This is a terrific upgrade and, so far, all domestic calls are free. International rates are on the cheap, as well. There's no guarantee it will stay this way.

Let's see if Google figures out a way to just stick ads in the middle of your calls to subsidize the whole thing and add another zero to their quarterly profits (I'm being flip now).

I gave Call phones a whirl last night. It does require installing a plug-in, which was relatively simple. However, I found (no surprises here) that Call Phones works exponentially better in Google Chrome than Internet Explorer.

I'm not sure why this would turn anyone's head from a service like Skype.  But, I can see it being handy if you're in gmail anyway and need to make a quick call home or order a pizza.

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