By Margaret Lyons
Updated August 26, 2010 at 09:06 PM EDT

Google announced its newest Gmail feature yesterday: Phone calls. Yep, the search giant has entered the ring against Skype. Cut to the woman in the bikini holding the sign that says “round one.” Ding ding. Fight!

The new feature integrates Google Voice with Gmail, so to use it, you have to have a Voice account. (Fret not. It’s free.) Install a simple plugin, and then it’s just like using chat — except you’re making phone calls. It’s free in the U.S. and Canada, and really really cheap elsewhere. (Here are some more thorough directions.)

It sounds pretty good, if voip is your thing, but Google’s last few releases haven’t exactly been hits — Wave? Buzz? The Net Neutrality policy paper with Verizon? Not quite wins. Might this new Voice option be Google’s next big thing?

What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you making calls from your Gmail as we speak?