As part of their Gmail pitch, Google has expanded the in-email calling feature to a total of 38 new languages. Simultaneously, the company lowered their calling fees.
The Updates to Gmail Calling
Google’s expansion into 38 new languages covers a large portion of Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. While the translation of the Gmail calling box and accepting new currencies is part of the effort, the bigger deal is the support for dozens of additional countries.
It seems clear that Google is improving their voice and data infrastructure (or, at the very least, the partnerships that provide it). It seems this has also allowed Gmail to drop their rates and waive their connection fees. India, France, and Mexico have especially good rates when compared with standard long-distance plans, and calls made from inside the U.S. or Canada to landlines or mobile phones in the U.S. or Canada will remain free at least until the end of the year.
Just days ago, Google also launched an “email intervention” campaign to promote Gmail. The campaign centered around voice and video calling. It’s clear that Google is prioritizing this feature, and has every intent of making it a long-term element.
The Loyalty War
Why would Google invest in a high-cost endeavor like global voice expansion? While there are some who theorize that Google could turn into its own multinational cell phone carrier (it’s a fun thought), the more likely reality is a continued push for user loyalty. Statistically, those who use Chrome and Gmail are more likely to use Google search and other Google services. By using voice as an incentive, Google can win users on Gmail and use that brand loyalty to lead the customers to other more monetized services.
[Sources include: The Official Google Blog]