CNet reports an as yet unconfirmed rumor that Google is testing a voice calling service, to be embedded inside Gmail and thus a Web-based VoIP product. The service will, according to the rumor, be launched from the Google Chat window where contacts reside, and will be a sort of combination of Google Talk and Google Voice.
Google Talk, launched a few years ago, is a combination of instant messaging and VoIP, while Google Voice consolidates various phone numbers into a single one, along with other services like voicemail transcription. But what CNet is reporting is a bit different: true Web-based phone calls, for free (or very cheap). Users won't even be required to have a Google Voice number to use the upcoming service.
According to CNet's sources, the service will be free within the USA and Canada, and will carry a very small charge for international calls, much like other VoIP services like Skype.
Google has declined to comment, but the idea isn't far-fetched at all. Google Talk and Voice are products in a similar vein, showing the company has an interest in experimenting in VoIP, and the screenshots obtained by CNet look quite real. We'll keep you updated if we hear more on the subject.