When Google offers a new service, it generally comes to Gmail first, and can take a while before it becomes available to Google Apps accounts. So when the new “make phone calls from Gmail” service was announced, I wasn’t expecting to see it any time soon in Google Apps.
However, when I logged into one of my Google Apps accounts last night, the new option to “Call Phone” appeared under Chat. This function appeared automatically, without any action by a Google Apps administrator.
The new service hasn’t yet appeared on any other Apps accounts that I know of. The account showing the new option is one that already had a Google Voice number associated with it, so it may be that existing Google Voice customers are getting the new service first.
I made several calls with the new service yesterday, and everyone found the sound quality to be very good. It certainly seems to be popular, since Google announced that one million calls were made in the first day of the service.
By the way, everyone with a U.S. Gmail (not Google Apps) account should now be able to dial out using the “Call Phone” option, even if you haven’t selected a Google Voice number. If you want to receive calls, you can find an option to “upgrade your account” at no charge using the “Google Voice” link in Settings, Chat. Caution! Don’t try to upgrade your account if you are not in the U.S.
Have you tried the “call from Gmail” service? What do you think of it?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise