SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Google Inc. on Wednesday said its Gmail webmail service will add a feature that allows users to call any phones directly from their computers.
"Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail," Robin Schriebman, a Google software engineer, announced in a post on the company's blog.
"We've been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant, to placing a call when you're in an area with bad reception," Schriebman noted.
Google said it will roll out the new feature to U.S.-based Gmail users over the next few days and is working on making it available more broadly.
Users can call any phone in the U.S. and Canada for free for at least the rest of the year and Google also promised cheap international calls.
Calls to Britain, France, Germany, China, Japan and many other countries will be billed as low as 2 cents per minute, Google said.
Gmail already has a voice and video chat feature that allows users to talk to each other, but requires both people to be at their computers while chatting.