With more carriers pushing unlimited calling plans, we can't say there's necessarily a need for the friends and family features of yesteryear on this side of the Atlantic, but plenty of networks beyond the good ole US of A are a bit more stingy when it comes to tallying talk time. The latest Google patent application to be published was filed last December and covers exactly this type of scenario, suggesting that the Google+ profile of the future could include an option to create a "Telco Co. Preferred Calling" circle, which would theoretically enable free calling between yourself and a small group of friends.
According to the application, semi-public information, such as a telephone number, would be shared between Google and a registered service provider, and you would maintain discount calling relationships from within Google+, adding and dropping callers to and from your online contacts list. You could also dictate custom rules, such as ringtones for contacts in specific groups, or create carrier-branded circles that are populated with your friends on the same network, making it easier to determine whether or not you'll be billed for calls to a particular user. Like all patent applications, there's no guarantee that Google's submission with come to fruition, but if you're feeling optimistic, you can hit up the source link below for all the legalese.