Google is extending its offer to make calls within the US and Canada free from its Google Voice product as an early holiday present to its users.
"As the holiday season approaches, we're happy to announce that we've extended free domestic calls within the US and Canada for 2012. This is our way of helping you connect with friends and family across the country. And you can still call the rest of the world from Gmail at our insanely low rates," announced Vincent Paquet, Google Voice group product manager in a December 13 post on the company’s Google Voice Blog.
US and Canadian users have been benefiting from free calls within Google Voice since the launch of the service in 2010; however in August Google hinted that the offer would terminate at the end of 2011.
If you want to ditch the Christmas tradition of sending expensive holiday cards to your friends and family, both Google Voice and Skype offer fun and innovative ways to spread the holiday spirit around.
You can send a virtual card with Skype’s Say it with Skype service, which was launched in 2011. Say it with Skype lets you team up with bands and artists to create your own personalized group video message for the holidays.
If you have kids (or easily excitable friends and family) and want to surprise them with a personalized phone call from Santa, stay tuned for the launch of Google’s "Send a Call from Santa" service.
Still want to send your grandma a nice card that she can put on the mantelpiece but have forgotten how to write with a pen and paper? Apple released a free iPhone app called Cards earlier this year that lets you create and send grandmother-approved (physical) cards using your iPhone.
There’s a selection of holiday-themed letterpress cards to choose from and you can personalize the card with your favorite photo. The free app can be downloaded from the App Store.