Google Helps Families Stay Connected with Loved Ones Serving Abroad
Article by George Norman
On 06 Dec 2010
The holiday seasons are a time of joy and giving, a time when families get together and celebrate together. Unfortunately for families who have loved ones serving abroad, getting together is not an option. Getting in contact with loved ones serving abroad is an option though.

An option that Mountain View-based search engine giant Google wants to be a part of by offering military families a $10 calling credit. Military families can use this credit to contact their loved ones via Google Voice or via the video chat feature in Gmail.


“These international call credits can be used to make calls with Google Voice or from right inside Gmail, and will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world,” explained Product Marketing Manager Michael Bolognino. “To make this possible, we’ve partnered with Blue Star Families and Sesame Street, two organizations dedicated to supporting service members and their families.”

Windows users have been able to voice and video chat via Gmail since 2008, if memory serves me right. All they had to do was get the voice and video plugin for Gmail. In August 2010 Google announced that it integrated Google Voice into the plugin, thus enhancing Gmail’s chat capabilities and allowing Gmail users to make calls to landline and mobile phones from within Gmail. In August 2010 Google also announced that it rolled out the voice and video plugin for Gmail to Linux users as well.

Getting back to the $10 calling credit, Michael Bolognino family members must meet these requirements to be eligible for the credit:
  1. Be a member of either Blue Star Families or Sesame Street Family Connections — registration is free for all military families
  2. Provide their Gmail address
  3. Enable calling in Gmail and accept the terms of service OR have an existing Google Voice account
  4. Complete the registration form by December 22, 2010

Tags: Google, Google Voice, Military, Gmail
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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