Google announced today that they are rolling out voice and video chat capability in Gmail chat - expected to be fully functional within the next day or so, it could end up being direct competition for Skype. ollaborating across continents and timezones is a fact of life for us, and it sure is easier (and greener) to click "Start video chat" than to get on a plane."
At the end of October, Google announced that they would soon be offering SMS functionality in Gmail chat (though it hasn't yet happened). Users send messages either via chat or via SMS, and replies sent by SMS appear in the chat window. The plug was promptly pulled after the initial announcement for technical reasons; the Google blog claims that "we found a glitch. When you'd try to turn it on, it wouldn't fully enable. We thought about keeping it out there -- bugs and all -- but the experience wasn't that great." The service should be up and running soon. It looks like Google will be delivering the messages through the carriers rather than using an email gateway.