With free Gmail calls, Google smacks AT&T

In its effort to not be evil while taking over the universe, Google yesterday launched a free phone service you punch up from its Gmail program. The service allows you to dial any number in the U.S. and Canada for free.

Why would Google smack AT&T? More likely, it’s worried about Facebook, which has 500 million users and could soon launch its own calling or video-calling technology. Imagine the lock-in Facebook could achieve by adding the ability to record snippets, post to your stream, ring all your friends now online. So Google has elevated its Gmail game, leaving AT&T long distance a bit out in future third place. Play the game downstream to a world of mobile tablets with mics and webcams, and free two-way video may arrive sooner than you think.

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