Google is reported to be currently testing a new feature on its Gmail that will allow users to place phone calls directly from their Gmail accounts.
You could already use Gmail Chat to make voice and video all to other Gmail users, but needed to use Skype or a similar service to make Web-based VoIP calls.
But the new service will now allow users to make VoIP calls to landline and cellular phones, not just other Gmail or Google Talk users. Its not 100% clear at the moment whether Google Voice will be changing or if the new service is something completely seperate.
Users of the new chat/phone call service aren’t required to have a Google Voice account, and calls placed to U.S. or Canadian numbers will be free. With discounts on international calls compared to standard rates using a standard telephone line.
Via BGR Via Cnet