A User-Friendly Guide to Making Phone Calls in Gmail

Easily connect with contacts over VoIP

With a couple of quick adjustments, you can use Google Voice to make and receive phone calls from Gmail instead of visiting the Google Voice website. This makes it easy to switch seamlessly and conveniently between email and phone. When you read an email that necessitates a phone call, dial the number from the same screen without losing your train of thought. You'll also keep important information in front of you.

You can make and receive phone calls through Voice from your Gmail screen only on a computer with a functioning microphone. You can also make calls from a smartphone using the Google Voice mobile app.

How Google Voice Works

Google Voice uses an internet connection to place calls (a method called voice over internet protocol or VoIP). Using Google Voice through Gmail doesn't have the ability to call an email address; this involves two completely different communication media. Using Google Voice from Gmail offers an additional and convenient way to access Google Voice from the Gmail interface.

How to Call Someone From Gmail

Three Google services combine to make this work. Follow these steps to place a phone call to any number from your Gmail account page:

  1. Install the Google Hangouts plugin. Hangouts is Google's free chat, instant messaging, and video chat app. If it's installed, the Hangouts window appears below the list of email folders.

    All new Gmail accounts come with Hangouts.

  2. Select either Make a call or the phone icon.

    Call icon in Gmail Hangouts interface
  3. If the contact you want to call is in your contacts list, hover over the contact and select the phone icon. The phone call will start immediately.

    Name, phone number field in Gmail Hangouts interface
  4. If the number is not in your list of contacts, enter the phone number in the Name text box and press Enter (or the phone icon that's next to the number). The phone call will begin immediately.

    Call button in Gmail Hangouts interface
  5. If the number is in a different country than what's indicated by the flag, select the flag and choose the appropriate country. The proper country code is automatically attached to the number.

  6. Press Hang up to end the call.

You have to buy calling credits to place calls that aren't free.

How to Receive a Phone Call From Your Gmail Interface

A call to your Google Voice number causes a ring notification to sound on your computer. If you have the Hangouts plugin, you don't have to leave Gmail to answer the call. Press Answer to pick up the call. Or, select Screen to send the call to voicemail, select Join to answer the call when you know who the caller is, or select Ignore to end the alert and the call.