Google takes on Skype with voice and video chat

Google has added voice and video calling to its Gmail service which allows computer users to contact people on their mobile phones.

Until now, Gmail voice and video chat had been restricted to users who were both using a suitably equipped computer, but from today Gmail users will be able to contact people on their phones.

Google says that calls to the USA and Canada will be free for 'at least the rest of the year' and calls to other countries will be billed at very low rates - as little as $0.02 per minute.

Calls are made from within you Gmail contacts list, and the service is currently rolling out across the USA.

There's no indication of when or if an international push will start but we'd guess at sooner rather than later.