Google announced today that Gmail users can now make calls to any US or Canada phone for free through the rest of the year. Before today, Gmail users could voice and video chat with other users, but the new changes all Gmail users to use their computer microphone to talk to any cell phone or home phone user, much like the popular Skype service.

“Google promised free calls to U.S. and Canadian phones from Gmail for the rest of this year and said it would charge low rates for calls made to other countries.

For example it said calls to Britain, France, Germany, China and Japan would be as low as 2 cents per minute.

Analysts said the service would likely be a bigger competitive threat to services like Skype’s than to traditional phone companies, which have already been cutting their call prices in recent years in response to stiff competition.”

More information can be found at this link.

Instructions can be found here.