Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WotW: Free calls for the holidays!

Happy Wednesday-before-Christmas! I hope you are all ready for the holiday season and relaxing instead of frantically pulling loose ends together... like I am. :)

If you'll be making Christmas calls to grandparents or other relatives, don't worry about the phone bill -- use Google to make the calls for FREE!

Yup, using your Gmail account, local and long-distance calls within the US and Canada are completely free, and international call rates are competitively priced: see the price chart here. And you can also receive calls in Gmail if you've set up a Google Voice account. (We'll talk more about Google Voice in the new year :).

Free calling in Gmail was introduced back in August, but the Google team just announced this week that they'll keep it free through 2011. If you like it or think you'll like it, use it! I mean, it's free. You can save on your long-distance bill or still make calls if you're over your minutes on your cell phone plan.

To get started, you (and your computer) must have the audio capabilities to place a phone call, such as a microphone. One of the microphone-headphone headsets would work too, but then you'll look like a telemarketer. :)

Once you are audio-ready, go to and install the Google Voice and Video Setup. It just takes a minute and a browser re-start, and then you're ready to chat!

Just log in to your Gmail or iGoogle account and click Call Phone -- it's the first option in your normal IM chat list.

 That will pop up the dial pad where you'll simply dial the number and click call.  (Except for me since I can't find my microphone... you won't see that message about a proper audio setup :)

Easy, eh? If you do happen to run into trouble, check out the help topics here.

Merry Christmas!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.
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