Back in August, Gmail launched what is perhaps my favorite new feature ever: integration with Google Voice, which lets you make and receive calls directly from your computer.
Earlier this month, there were some initial reports that Google had improved on this feature with a nifty addition: the ability to record inbound Google Voice calls directly from Gmail. Now it looks like Google is rolling out the feature more broadly — we’ve polled a few people and they’re all seeing it, and there are plenty of reports on Twitter of people noticing it for the first time.
Now, Google Voice has let users record some phone calls for a long time, but it’s not exactly intuitive — you have to hit the number ’4′ on your keypad (most people probably don’t even realize they can do this). The feature is only available on inbound calls, and there’s a verbal notification given to both parties on the call that recording has been activated.
The Gmail implementation seems identical in terms of functionality — you can still only record inbound calls, and there’s the same notification when you activate it. But it’s a heck of a lot more convenient. A new ‘record’ button sits just above the dialpad, and it’ll probably introduce a lot of people to the handy feature for the first time.
There do seem to be a couple caveats: first, as mentioned earlier, this is only available on inbound calls. Second, it looks like this doesn’t work on voice calls that are routed directly from one Gmail contact to another (without using Google Voice).
We’ve reached out to Google to see if the feature has been activated for everyone.