The next time someone emails you a phone number, calling them may - depending on what sort of software and hardware accessories your computer's equipped with - become a little simpler. Google's integrated its click-to-call tech with Gmail in order to save people from pulling out their cell phones or turning to a landline.
A heads up: anyone who would like to take advantage of this change will need to have Google's voice and video plugin installed, and you'll also of course need some sort of microphone/telephone attachment to transmit your voice.
Otherwise, though, the arrangement's pretty user-friendly. A post on the Gmail Blog explained, "[Y]ou no longer have to get out your phone and retype a number anytime someone sends you one in an email or chat message. Starting today, you'll see that phone numbers appear as links . . . . Just click the number, and Gmail's dialpad will pop up, already populated with the number you're trying to call."
Later, the post added, "You'll also see a little green phone icon next to numbers in your contacts which you can use to do the same thing."
These developments should please people who are short on cell phone minutes or are close to ditching their landlines. They'll also help extend the battery life of phones, even if those other factors aren't a consideration.
Anyway, Google took a related step forward yesterday when it enabled click-to-call capabilities for emergency-related mobile search results.