11 September, 2014

Making Phone Calls in Google Hangouts Just Got Easier

Google is expanding Hangouts' voice calling capabilities and integrating its Google Voice service into Hangouts on the web, iOS and Android.

"Hangouts remains the future of Google Voice, so we’re going to keep bringing the most-loved Google Voice features into the core Hangouts experience," Google's Chee Chew posted on Google+, adding that the change won't affect users' existing Google Voice numbers, which will remain the same.

Hangouts on the web and iOS already included voice calling features, but Google has expanded this capability to include free voice calls to any United States-based or Canadian phone number (international calls will still require paying a fee). The update has already been pushed out to the Hangouts iOS app and the web.

Android users will have to download another standalone app, Hangouts Dialer, to get the new voice calling features

Additionally, voice calls made within Hangouts will soon be linked to your Google Voice number — if you have one — on iOS, Android and on the web. This feature will roll out over the next few days, according to Chew.

Hangouts on the web and Android will be getting even tighter Google Voice integration with support for Google Voice voicemails and SMS messages, which are also rolling out in the coming days.

When you receive a voicemail via Google Voice, the message will appear in the conversation view within Hangouts and you can choose to wither read a transcript of the message or play it inline. Similarly, you can read and send Google voice text messages from within Hangouts.