Back in college I studied abroad for a year, and even now, I still keep in touch with my closest friends from my time overseas. But I love is how keeping in touch has evolved over the years: we started out with the occasional email, phone card call, or online chat (or surprise pen pal letter!), but now even people I haven't seen in person for a long time are just a mouse click away on Google Voice and it's easy to have daily conversations on chat.
I'm loving the (relatively) new Gmail voice feature that lets users call anyone's phone in the US and Canada for free. It's a nice surprise to hear from my faraway friends on my cell phone (a reward for actually answering an unknown number?) and not my laptop speakers, and even better knowing that I'm not costing them a dime. Google recently announced that calls to the US and Canada would remain free through 2011; I can't think of a better gift this holiday than talking to distant friends and family for free!