Phone calls make triumphant return to Gmail via Hangouts



As someone who lives in an area with a poor cell signal, I’ve often relied on my strong internet connection and making phone calls through Gmail as my pseudo “home” or landline telephone. When Google began transitioning to Hangouts, this phone calling feature was a little more difficult to get to, but today Google has announced that, not only are calls back — but they’re now better than ever.

Starting today, users can now make free calls to the US and Canada, and for those that want to call internationally, you still have the option to pay Google’s super low rates. Also, with calls now officially available in Hangouts, it’s now possible to initiate a Hangout with multiple phone callers and video participants, with everyone joining in on the conversation. Have family out of country? Initiate a video Hangout with them, and call up your mom on her celly while she’s out and about. Pretty sweet.

Google Hangouts phone calls Gmail

I’ve been avoiding “upgrading” to Hangouts in Gmail but now with the return of phone calling, I’m all over it like white on rice. If you don’t see the call icon just yet, don’t worry. Google assures us this feature will be rolling out to everyone over the next few days. What’s interesting is how Google specifically mentions that Hangouts is the future of Google Voice, with calls being “just the beginning.” Take that as you will, Android friends.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Oh… How nice. Now I’m going to slowly start getting ALL my friends into this.

  2. Thank God. I was kind of confused when they took it out of Gmail. Gonna try it now. :) Thanks for this post man!

  3. Gonna wait a few weeks and let everyone else test it for me. I rely on Google’s phone service far too much to get dooped into hangouts again.

  4. What about Hangouts on Android? Will this allow VoIP calling?

  5. Doesn’t work!

  6. Don’t see it in my gmail yet. And can we get an idea when Google voice gets integrated into hangouts. I’ve been anxiously waiting for MMS in voice forever

  7. So close! I can feeeeeel it!!

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      Oh… How nice. Now I’m going to
      slowly start getting ALL my friends into this. Into Google Hangouts that
      is. I don’t like the different messaging applications. It’s quite
      annoying. Makes having them useless. LoL!!

  8. Meh….I use GrooveIP through Google Voice. Pretty much the same thing. Hangouts is alright if you’ve got friends with it and want to text/video chat but I’ve never really seen a use for it.

  9. What about the android app? It needs voice calls

  10. Works a treat in Sydney

  11. i stuck to the old chat just because of the calling and texting…not gonna trick me into accepting less…sorry google…

  12. This will be good, I switched to Hangouts, but switch back any time I need to make a phone call. I’m glad they made it easy to switch back and forth. And phone calls still came in to hangouts, so the only feature not there was initiating phone calls.

  13. Now what I want to know is if they have included the feature in the mobile version of Hangouts.

    One thing that drove me nuts is that I had to use Skype to call my friends abroad on their mobile phones when I was out and about, even though at the time Skype was 20x more buggy and slow than GTalk on Android. The feature was in the desktop version, but not the mobile one. Quite annoying!

    At least I have the comfort of knowing the Skype update has actually made skype usable on older devices!

  14. How do I get it to display my Google/Android/Voice contacts instead of my G+ contacts, like it used to? Not like I’m calling anyone on G+ :P


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