Google is testing a new feature in Gmail, in which a phone icon opens a special Gmail chat window consisting of a dialpad, contact search, credit balance and a call button. The feature is not yet publicly available.
A couple of weeks ago we asked whether Google was building a Skype competitor after Google acquired VoIP company Global IP Solutions (GIPS). Google also acquired another VoIP-related company, Gizmo5, in late 2009 and integrated its team with Google’s own Google Voice team.
Now, it’s all coming together in Gmail, which already offers voice chat to users. Google Voice lets you do VoIP over the phone, but integrating that with Gmail’s voice chat feature means that you could call anyone directly from Gmail, finally solidifying Google’s VoIP offering as a true Skype competitor.
[img credit: Google Operating System]