Google Extends Gmail Free Calling Until End Of 2011

Google on Monday announced that it will continue to provide its free calling feature for Gmail until the end of 2011.

The calling feature, which is similar to Google Voice, was made free for the company's e-mail service in 2010, allowing users to make free calls anywhere across the US and Canada.

Making the announcement on the Google blog, the company said: “In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the New Year, we’re extending free-calling for all of 2011.”

Gmail users can make calls through this feature by clicking the 'Call phone' button which appears on top of the Chat list.

Making international calls through this feature will still remain a paid service, although with lower rates than any other VoIP service.

The service became an instant hit amongst users when it launched in August, with one million calls logged in the first 24 hours.