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