U.S. Troops Overseas Can Use Gmail To Call Home For Free


Uniformed U.S. military personnel serving abroad can use Gmail’s phone calling feature for free. The promotion starts now and runs through the end of the year.

The free offering merely requires would-be callers to add and validate their .mil email addresses in Gmail. Then they can click the “Call phone” link in the Chat sidebar to initiate a call via Gmail’s dial pad.

“We recognize and appreciate the sacrifices U.S. troops make when they serve abroad, and we’re proud to help make it a little bit easier for them to stay connected and hear a familiar voice,” Ilya Frank, Senior Software Engineer at Google, says of the company’s decision.

The generous free-calling offer is Google’s second of the year. The company is letting Gmail users make free phone calls to the U.S. and Canada throughout the year to promote its Skype-challenger.

Qik Premium for Android now in market.


Qik has rolled out its premium live video-streaming product to all Android users.

Qik Premium builds on the free Qik video service by adding a few extra features: unlimited video downloads and storage, sending and receiving video mail anytime, automatic video syncing with your computer through Qik Desktop, HD as well as 3D video recording on devices that support it, and priority customer support via a dedicated email.

Qik Premium is free for the first 30 days and $4.99 per month thereafter. The new app is available in the Android Market, and it’s also available for the iPhone [iTunes link].

History : Qik was acquired in January 2011 by Skype for north of $100 million.

How to Launch Facebook Skype Video Chat :


You can now make video calls on Facebook, thanks to a new Skype-powered feature the social network launched Wednesday.

During the product announcement, Mark Zuckerberg described how his elderly neighbor in Palo Alto asked if he could to video chat his grandson on Facebook — without the hassle of setting up a new account or downloading a program. “Tune in,” Zuckerberg told him.

It’s not quite as seamless as Zuckerberg’s neighbor was hoping, however. The first time you try to video chat someone or answer a call, you will indeed be asked to download a program. The chat window will then ask you to select some Flash settings.

After that, the feature works like “a mini-Skype client,” as Skype CEO Tony Bates mentioned during the announcement. It also has a neat option to record a video message if the person you’re calling doesn’t answer. Here’s a brief walk-through in pictures.

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What Facebook/Skype Video Chat Might Look Like:


We’ve confirmed with our sources that Facebook will indeed launch a video chat service next week, powered by Skype. But what will it look like, and how will it work?

We haven’t seen screenshots of Skype-powered video chat on Facebook (yet), but we have some thoughts on how we think it will look. So we asked our crack team of design-savvy alpacas to create a mockup of video chat on Facebook. We think we’ve got a good idea of what video chat on Facebook will look like.

Check out the mockup (it’s Ben Parr talking with Mashable‘s Charlie White), and let us know if you think we’re on the money or off the mark in the comments.

-(via mashable)

Skype Video Chat Comes to Android


An update to Skype for Android includes one-to-one video chat. The new version of Skype’s app allows users to make free video calls between their phones and Skype contacts who are using any Skype-enabled device.

Other new features of the Android app include easy contact navigation and a new “mood message box” at the top of the app that makes it easy to set a status.

All Android users have been able to use Skype, minus video features, since October. And it’s long been possible to make non-Skype video calls between Android phones through apps like Google Talk and Oovoo. iOS device owners have been able to make video calls over Skype since late last year.

For now, the only phones that support the updated app are HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro and Google Nexus S.