In what is becoming an annual ritual, Google today announced that it is extending its free calls promotion for Google Talk through 2012. Thanks to this, Google's users can make free calls from Gmail within the U.S. and Canada for another year. After launching calling in Gmail in August 2010, Google first said these calls would be free for the rest of 2010 and that it would start charging in 2011. In December 2011, the company announced that it would extend this program for 2011. Now, Google is adding another year to this promotion, making us wonder whether the company plans to keep this service free for the foreseeable future.

Chances are, Google is doing this to entice its users to make international calls through Gmail and Google Voice, as these are probably more lucrative anyway.

Google Talk, of course, is closely connected to Google Voice at this point and your Google number will display when you make outgoing phone calls. Google Voice users can also receive calls in Gmail.