Thursday, August 26, 2010

Google introduces Call from Gmail, free calls to US and Canada

Rumors have been buzzing about since June, but Google just made it official -- the company's baking Google Voice calls right into Gmail today. Like the Google Chat text, voice and video chat integrated into the web-based email client in prior years, full phone calls will also be an option using VoIP technology from the Gizmo5 aquisition. Google's demoing the "Call from Gmail" service for us in San Francisco this morning, and it's looking like it's not free, but fairly cheap -- a product manager just called Paris for $0.02 a minute. Incoming calls pop up as a chat window in Gmail (and ring your Google Voice-equipped phones simultaneously) and you press a "Call phone" button that appears near the top of the Chat window to send an outbound call, at which point a dialer appears where you can copy and paste numbers or tap them in manually. Users can screen incoming calls or send them to voicemail with a single tap.

You'll be able to make calls to US and Canadian landlines completely free of charge, buying prepaid credits using Google Checkout for international landline calling at $0.02 a minute and a good bit more (We saw $0.19 to Spain) for calls to international mobile devices. Google will sell its own credits for the program (via Google Checkout), which should be available in a few weeks, but the Voice in Gmail service goes live today in the US and will begin rolling out to users immediately. Google's only committed to free calls to US and Canadian landlines through the end of the year, as paid international calls are the sole revenue stream here: "Our hope is we'll be able to make enough margin on international calls to keep offering it at that low price," a product manager told us.

Canon EOS 60D: 18 megapixels and 1080p video flexes its articulating screen this September

Just when you thought 16MP was too much

Well, what do we have here? Last we heard about the Canon EOS 60D it was just a twinkle in our articulating screen of a peripheral vision. And now it's official -- my, how times have changed. Here's what we know about the 50D successor (with definite nods to the Rebel T2i's feature set): the 18-megapixel DSLR has a single DIGIC 4 processor and boasts 1080p H.264 video with an in-camera movie editing feature, manual audio level control, a "flexible" (read: articulating) 3-inch LCD screen, an ISO range of 100-6,400 purported to be expandable to 12,800, and support for processing RAW images from within the camera itself. Look for the little photo shooter to hit retail at the end of September for just a dollar under $1,100 body only, or $1,400 with a bundled 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens
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