Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hold the phone! Free calls in Gmail!

We were excited yesterday to release our new Google Voice integration in Gmail, and the response so far has been fantastic. Over 1 million calls were placed in the first 24 hours, and the press coverage and user feedback have been great. Some choice quotes:

David Pogue, New York Times:  "Google just loves upsetting the apple cart. It shook up Web searching and advertising. It shook up free Web-based e-mail services when Gmail offered gigabytes of free storage rather than a few megabytes. It shook up the way companies go public.

The latest development is particularly shakeworthy: Google now lets you make free phone calls from your computer. It isn’t new fellow geeks who have installed Skype or iChat and use special “handles” like SkiBunny1968–but it will be to normal people, on regular American and Canadian phone numbers. Free."
Michael Arrington, TechCrunch: "... Today Google Voice is being integrated right into the browser via Gmail. It’s amazingly good – I know because I’ve been testing it for the last few days."
John Cook, TechFlash:  "I've been test driving Google's new phone service this morning, placing free calls from my Gmail account to work colleagues and family members. So far, the service has worked like a charm -- crisp sound, an easy-to-understand interface and, most importantly, no dropped calls."
techiefool, CNET comment: "Google has put the awesome back into email again."

Try it out for yourself! Head on over to and get started - it's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

One quick tip: from the main Gmail page, you can type "gp" to bring up the phone dialer. Useful if you want to make a call without taking your hands off the keyboard!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Google Talk turns 5!

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the launch of Google Talk, the world's largest open chat, voice, and video service. To our users worldwide - whether you know it as Talk, Gmail Chat, Orkut Chat, or just "GChat" - thanks for your continued support!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Google voice and video - now available for Linux!

Google voice and video chat is now available in Gmail for Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions. As the comments on this blog indicate, I know many folks have been waiting very patiently for this day! For those of you using RedHat-based distros, we're planning on adding RPM support soon as well.

This release required significant engineering to develop an all-new video rendering solution and an all-new PulseAudio-based audio handler, along with work to support 64-bit and countless webcam compatibility tests. We spent a lot of effort to make it fully feature-complete, with all the same goodies as the Windows and Mac versions, and we're happy to now support Google voice and video now on all major desktop platforms.

Visit and start video chatting!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Google voice and video enterprise firewall configuration

If you're a network administrator trying to control access to Google voice and video chat, take a look at our help document on this topic, specifically this line:
Allow your XMPP clients to connect to all IP addresses resolved on DNS name, UDP port 19295 and 19302, or TCP port 19294.
This rule allows your internal users to contact our STUN and relay servers over UDP and TCP. In the event that policy does not allow receipt of UDP from the Internet, just allowing access to TCP port 19294 will allow users to still contact the relays via TCP, although performance may suffer in congestion situations. Lastly, if policy does not permit access to TCP port 19294, port 443 may be used instead.

Note that the info for is updated regularly as we add/turn down datacenters, so it's a good idea to check regularly for changes.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Awesome Google video chat photo

Love this photo - Google video chat lets a grandma virtually attend a wedding. Full story on the Gmail Blog.