Sunday, August 29, 2010

A review of Gmail Calling Feature by Tej Kohli

Tej Kohli brings you the first impressions of the latest Google Gmail Calls feature...

A few days ago, Google introduced the feature of making phone calls to mobile phones and landlines directly from your Gmail inbox. In order to use the feature, first you must be a google user, and second, you must be signed into your Gmail account. Plus, it also requires you to to download and install the voice and video browser Plugin, which allow users to carry out voice and video chats from gmail.
However you will; not find this feature instantly as you login to your gmail account as it is somewhat burired in the Gmail Chat Feature poistioned on the left side of inbox. Look for a tiny phone icon, and click on it to open a dialer.

Like most Google services, this utility too has a pretty bland interface. At the top of the dialer, there are two tabs – the first is for the dialer itself, and the second is a small clock, which reveals your call history on clicking. Those who have a Google voice number, that history too will be included in the calling history list, including calls made from the Google Voice Android application. So, anyone who receives a call from you will see your Google voice number on their screen. However, Google voice is not a prerequisite for Gmail calling feature to work.
Thanks to the ease of this ability, dialing numbers is a cakewalk. You can dial a number using your mouse or the number keys on the keyboard. Alternatively, you can search contacts by typing names as well. The dialer will automatically sort through your contact list as you types and offer suggestions instantly. Once you've typed or found the desired number, press the Call button at the bottom of the screen.

The feature is swift and the calls connect pretty quickly. This feature runs on VOIP technology, and can be used to call on physical phone numbers. Calls are clear and works just fine even with a laptop's bulit in speaker and microphone. However, if you want to make calls more private, you can attach a headset to the machine.

As far as the call quality is concerned, it was at par with average VoIP standards. The voice quality was somewhat subdued and digital sounding. Many people I called noticed that my voice was echoing.

At present, it allow users to make free calls to the U.S and Canadian numbers, in addition to offering substantially low call rates to other countries. Use Google check-out to purchase credits for international calls. Once the call has ended, the remaining credits will be showed in dollar amounts across the top of the dialer, so you know when you need to recharge your account.

Is Skype better than this service? In many aspects, Yes! First, Skype is a household name. Secondly, it is available on most computing platforms including the latest smartphones. Furthermore, Skype offers free Skype-to-Skype calling from/to anywhere, while Google calling only works from the U.S, at least for now.

While there is no doubt this feature has a lot of room for improvement, seeing the goodwill Google has built over years now, this product will soon become a hit.
Tej Kohli Pages | Tej Kohli On Twitter | Tej Kohli Corneal Transplant India | Tej Kohli Profile

No comments: