Google Voice launched a ‘call phones’ feature this month that works within your Gmail account. Not much to say about it, except that it could make Google Apps for Business an even more attractive proposition, as they are offering international call rates (computer to phone) starting at 2 cents a minute to Japan, Britain, Germany and France. Arguably everything required to launch a business from your computer now sits in the cloud of Google Apps… But you’ll still need to file your tax returns.
It will likely differentiate the rumored Google Me service from other social networks that do not offer call services.
If anyone should be worried, yet simultaneously flattered, it should be Skype, which recently filed for an IPO. Giga OM reports that paying Skype customers, using SkypeOut, are worth $96 per year, per user and the company is seeking $100 million to launch premium features such as group video chat.
It is also worth noting that this move creates yet another reason for consumers of Google products to provide their credit/debit card info, and spend directly with Google, which is somewhat of a departure from its ‘freemium‘ model.
UPDATE: “Google announced via Twitter that over 1 million people placed calls from Gmail within just 24 hours.”