The purveyor of Google Voice services over Gmail says free calling to the U.S. and Canada will remain free for the rest of 2011.
Google (goog) announced that Gmail users would be able to make calls within the web interface back in August. By most accounts, the service has been a successful one, though there have been some minor outages. Even if users don't opt to sign up for a free Google Voice number that can be called from other traditional phones, making a call out from inside of Gmail is an offer too good to pass up for most. I use it on a daily basis.
Today, Google says that their VoIP inside of Gmail will be free for all of 2011 to any phone inside of the U.S. and Canada.
That should be enough time to give Skype some IPO headaches and get enough people on board to have a business by 2012. Perhaps, as Goldman Sachs thinks, it will also help Google ward off Facebook email defections as well.