Google and Gmail, also 'Blogger', Google earth, etc. has changed the way we remain 'connected'. Check out http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/
Wished a close friend yesterday on his birthday. While we remain in touch on gmail ( both on gmail), I chose to call him to wish. He underlined the fact only a birthday could get me to make an ISD CALL !
My preferred 'mode of contact' is usually sms/mail. Now, with the focus on cost-cutting, all the more reason to avoid an ISD call ! ( I am quite vocal about it, to manage expectations of close relatives and friends - mom calls me, not otherwise, as she wants to help her son in his cost cutting focus!)
In these tough times, it is more critical to be in touch. While a phone call or a long letter is a preferred option, e-mail can be almost as effective. Kudos to Google... Many happy returns...