Google Gives You a Reason to Hang Up the Phone

You knew Google couldn't just sit back and let Apple have all the fun.

While one Bay Area tech giant is reaping praise for its new video chat feature on the much-maligned iPhone and rumors swirl of more video chats coming from Apple, Google jumped into the fray and took a shot at Skype while it was at it.

Google announced Wednesday that Gmail users will now be able to call land lines in the US and Canada for free.

While the service is new it isn't totally new to Gmail users. Google has allowed its email subscribers to make calls from Gmail for two years but those calls had to be to another computer.

This week's announcement makes it so users can now dial ordinary land lines and talk from their computers. The move ups the popular Skype service, which has about 124 million users a month across the globe.

Some analysts are predicating Google's new service could eventually top Skype's popularity because Gmail currently has more than 200 million users. Google says overnight one million calls were placed using the service.

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