Hangouts calling

Fear not telecommuters -- phone calls via Hangouts are coming in the next few days

If you decided to take the plunge and move to Hangouts in your Gmail account or install the new Chrome extension, you might have noticed that the ability to initiate a phone call was missing. Unlike the Chat feature that came before it, where you could make a voice call to any of your contacts, you only had two options -- a text Hangout or a full-fledged video-conferencing Hangout to another party with a camera. Plenty of us missed that feature.

Now its back! Or it will be soon, according to the official Gmail blog. Included with today's news are a couple new features. Calls to the US and Canada are now free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. And international rates remain "super, super low." Additionally, you can now add multiple voice and video participants to the same Hangout, and Google has a couple fun effects (like a laughing voice) you can use for a bit of added foolery.

The change will be rolling out to users in the next couple of days. To check if you have it, or to use it when you do, simply look for the new phone icon in the new Hangout box in your Gmail, or the "Call a phone" entry in the Chrome extension menu. Nobody here at AC has the feature enabled just yet, but we're ready.

Source: Official Gmail Blog


Reader comments

Phone calls via Hangouts makes its triumphant return


Why would people pay a fee for calling vs. just using internet to talk via Hangouts?
If you are calling from outside US/Canada to US/Canada, wouldn't you be using internet anyways?

Because Internet talk went away in the Hangouts app, leaving you with only the Video Chat capability.

I had to uninstall Hangouts to be able to voice chat via Google Talk with friends traveling in Europe just yesterday. We both uninstalled Hangouts, and could again see the Microphone Icon in Talk (which was still in the phone because its a built in app).

You may want to call a store located in the US/Canada where you bought something and ask for warranty (or the other way).
You might be trying to get a place to study in some university as an exchange student and you need to call them (or the other way).
For any other needs where you need to call a phone number (ie. not calling your friends or individuals).

Right now I'm using a cludge of GV Integration and talktone for Internet calls. Having the ability to call via hangouts on the handset would be a godsend. It just might make my system stable enough not to have to reboot after it goes psst.

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This is actually huge, not specifically for calling, but for the next step in the process of making cross-platform communication a little easier. For example, my mother-in-law in Canada has a G+ account but only uses her Chromebook to communicate. With this, we can now call her for free on her landline when she's not on her computer and we can ditch Skype.

This has great potential. Have been thinking on ditching Sprint and going with the $30 unlimited data plan from T-mobile but it only comes with 100 minutes and that is not quite enough. Using this feature would help ensure I wouldn't have to buy extra minutes.

"..all countries where Hangouts calling is available". Does anybody knows if there is such a list of countries by any chance?

I think that would be the US and Canada, not aware of any other country that it works in, thank your local politician for that

Thanks, I didn't know this app but will check it out! Do you know if I can use my google voice credit when I use this app to make calls? I'm not in the US so I don't have google voice, but I was heavily using the ability to make phone calls from gmail and I had bought credit for that. Every now and then I still revert to the old chat to use this.

Edit: seems like the answer to my question is yes

Not sure why you all are so pissy about it, I haven't received an MMS message since smartphones became the norm

Now they just have to finish integrating G Voice and SMS into Hangouts and it'll be golden

You can. Go into your g+ photos and there will be an album with the pic. They are automatically saved and you can download them from there if you so wish.

Hmm.. So I am planning to take a trip to Japan in about a month, Will I be able to call my parents (via wi-fi through my phone).

I'm waiting to be able to do a video chat with someone that doesnt use g+. Used to be able to do it with the talk app.

This is excellent news. I had been forced to rely more heavily on Skype over the past few weeks.

Hangouts is still a pointless app for most people who don't live in North America.

If they integrated sms mms at least it would be a imessage clone and therefore useful. However for now I and everyone I know use Skype for voice and video chat. It's not worth the hassle of getting them all to switch especially since none of them are north America based.

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I am using it for incoming calls already. I have been since it was announced and I could add it as an extension on google chrome.

Okay, now I can make phone calls on my iPod with hangouts, but not on my cell phone or Nexus 7. What gives Google? iOS before Android??