December 14 update: Good news! Google has extended their free calling to US and Canadian phone numbers through 2012. This feature is now in its third year and is a great way to save on long-distance bills.
Originally posted January 10, 2011:Here's some good news from Google! In August we reported that Google had rolled out free calling to US and Canadian phone numbers. The only catch was that it would only be available through the end of 2010. Happily, Google announced that they're continuing to offer the service for free through 2011. This is a huge boon for anyone looking to save on long-distance bills or cellphone plans.
If you haven't yet used this feature, when you're within Gmail, click "Call Phone", select the country you wish to call and then enter the phone number. Make sure that you have speakers and a microphone hooked up to your computer. As we said above, you'll be able to call any Canadian or US number for free. You can call other countries for about 2Â¢ a minute.