Santa Google has extended its free US and Canada VoIP calls service through Gmail to 2011.

Google launched the service Call Phone in Gmail in August and had made calls to US and Canada free for year 2010 and has now extended the service through year 2011.

The feature was a big hit when it was launched with around 1 million calls being placed in the first 24-hours since its launch.

The service allows users to directly place calls through Gmail, which uses a Google Voice plug-in to enable the calls. International calls are charged at $0.02 per minute.

Gmail calling is available below the Google chat status, marked with a phone icon and called Call phone. The service feature has multiple uses and it helps to save cell phone minutes. Suppose you are talking on your mobile in the car. After reaching home, press * (asterisk) button on the mobile keypad to transfer the ongoing call to another Google Voice phone.

If the Gmail is open, the inbox will start ringing and you can hang-up your mobile and continue talking in Gmail, thereby saving several cellphone minutes.

In addition, if one has a Bluetooth headset, he can stay mobile, even if he is talking from the computer.

However, the continuation of free call service is sure to dent Skype's business which currently offers VoIP calls to landlines and other phones at a cost.