Google announced today on the Gmail blog that it's bringing back the ability to make phone calls from Gmail, and added the capability to Hangouts and Google+. Like Hangout, phone calls will have Google Effects like applause and laughter (though we're not sure how it will implement party hats or beards), and sessions can include multiple phone and video participants.
Calls to the US and Canada are free from anywhere Hangout calling is available, while international rates will "remain super, super low", according to senior software engineer Alex Wiesen. Just don't call Grandma while you're video chatting your gaming buddies in your underwear. [Official Gmail Blog via Engadget]