This is becoming somewhat of a holiday tradition for Google: the company just announced that it is extending it free domestic calls from Gmail in the U.S. and Canada for yet another year. Just like at the end of 2011 and 2010, Google today said that Gmail users will once again get one more year of free voice calls from the Gmail chat widget.
It’s interesting that Google continues to extend this service year after year. The company introduced voice calls from Gmail in August 2010 after introducing Gmail’s the voice and video chat feature in 2008. When it first launched this calling feature, it said that it would make it free for the first year. Since then, of course, it has always extended this offer, despite the company’s recent trend toward closing some of its less popular or money-losing services.
Google Voice, which forms the basis of the Gmail calling service and also offers free domestic calls, didn’t see too many updates in 2012, by the way. Besides some Google+ contacts integration and the launch of an updated Android app, it’s actually been extremely quiet around Google Voice this year.
Here is the full (and very brief) announcement from Google:
Many of you call phones from Gmail to easily connect with friends and family. If you’re in the US and Canada, you’ll continue to be able to make free domestic calls through 2013. Plus, in most countries, you can still call the rest of the world from Gmail at insanely low rates.