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I'm going all-in with Hangouts for messaging and calls

I'm just finishing a two week experiment where I've gone "all in" on Google Hangouts for my calling and texting. After dabbling around with things and watching bugs get fixed for a week after Hangouts and Google Voice began integrating with one another, I decided to see if Google's new VoIP calling and Voice SMS integration was the real deal.

Being someone who already was a full-time Google Voice user and heavy Hangouts user the transition was supposed to be theoretically simple — Google controls the whole stack, so why wouldn't it be? Well as you might expect there's still a good bit of tweaking to be done in this process. But much to my surprise, this experiment has turned into the only way I'll be doing calls and texts going forward.

Google Messaging apps

Transitioning all of my calling and texting over to Hangouts landed somewhere between "involved" and "frustrating," with several hoops to jump through that honestly weren't at all explained by Google throughout the process. It basically consists of getting the updated Hangouts and Google Voice apps on your phone, as well as downloading a separate app called Hangouts Dialer, followed by going through the settings in Hangouts to turn on incoming Google Voice calls and SMS.

The cherry on top is having Google stop forwarding calls to your carrier-assigned phone number, deleting the Google Voice extension from Chrome and removing the native phone dialer from my phone's homescreen.

After all of that afternoon-consuming work was done, for the past two weeks I started making and receiving all of my phone calls, as well as sending my Google Voice text messages exclusively through the Hangouts app. I expected the process to be painful, but when I stepped back and looked at how cobbled-together my previous situation was — using the aging Google Voice app and web interface — I've actually found this to be an overall improvement.

The highs

Hangouts VoIP call

The biggest worry I had when moving over to Hangouts was the quality and reliability of making all of my calls with VoIP rather than the standard phone system. Anyone who's tried to use Google Voice with a third-party app to enable VoIP, or made a Skype call on a poor connection, knows that things can deteriorate pretty quickly in poor signal situations.

Thankfully, over dozens of calls I have to say Hangouts' voice quality is as good or better than the standard phone system, with absolutely no latency issues. I actually haven't had a single dropped call, either, which I can't say about making calls over the standard T-Mobile and AT&T networks I regularly use. I was prepared to just not answer calls in low signal areas, but I quickly lost that worry. And when you're on Wifi calls come through even smoother, and the transition is seamless, which is a bonus. Perhaps best of all, I haven't used a single voice minute from my carrier since switching.

One of the biggest improvements of going with Hangouts is not having to open up the Google Voice app anymore. Although you should still keep it installed, it's hard to overstate how nice it is to use a nice modern app with a good user interface rather than the 2011-era Google Voice design. The other half of that equation is not having to use the Google Voice website — aside from device and forwarding management — or Chrome extension anymore, either. Hallelujah.

The lows

Hangouts and phone dialer

For all of the improvements Google has made with this transition to Hangouts, naturally there's still plenty of room for improvement. Unified messaging across Google Voice SMS and Hangouts is still best described as a train wreck, with separate threads constantly popping up and avatars not syncing properly. There's also no elegant way to choose when you're using Google Voice or your carrier number for SMS if you for some reason need it, nor is there a simple way on the desktop Hangouts app to switch between SMS and Hangouts messages.

Perhaps a larger deal for frequent callers, Hangouts isn't nearly as robust as the stock dialer on any Android phone. Hangouts still doesn't identify itself to the system as a "dialer" app, so when you tap a link to call a number on your phone that call is still routed through the standard phone dialer. For all my effort to be solely in Hangouts for calls, there's no getting around this one until Google makes a change. The Hangouts app still force closes at the worst times — when I'm hanging up on calls or trying to answer from the lockscreen — as well, which needs to be ironed out for something as critical as phone calls.

And that brings up the largest issue for me with this whole thing — calling with Hangouts feels like this odd appendage in the app that isn't supposed to be there. You can make and receive calls, sure, but it still feels tacked-on and unfinished. There's still no administration of phone numbers or call forwarding through the Hangouts app, no way to customize ringtones, no way to quickly switch between VoIP and standard calls — the list goes on. I really don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth here, and for a first release the Hangouts integration with Google Voice is quite good, but I'm still looking forward to the next big update to get these services playing together nicely.

I want Google to take this idea and run with it


The end result of this experiment? I really don't want to go back to the way we did things before with Google Voice. Having Google Voice integrated into the Hangouts app for text messages, as well as for VoIP calls, is a huge net positive in the end even with all of the small issues. I don't have to deal with the cruft and tiny issues of the legacy Google Voice system, nor do I need to manage multiple apps. VoIP calls are loud and clear, and it's even saving me money not having a plan with unlimited minutes.

For me, the next step is watching Google go even further. I want to see Google do some sort of system-level integration of Google Voice and Hangouts VoIP calls in Android so that I don't have to do this weird hopscotch between apps and settings at inopportune times to make sure I'm using the right phone number and method to contact someone. I'm willing to commit to Google for all of my communication at this point — and I expect the experience to get even better because of it.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • I still have not got the popup to migrate Google Voice to Hangouts yet?
  • make sure you have updated to the latest Hangout release
  • I didn't get the prompt until I went in and changed my Google Voice number. I know that isn't an option for some, but it worked. It also fixed the problem I had with not being able to place domestic through the GV app on T-Mobile. Not that it matters now.
  • Same here man, sux :/
  • I have merged with one device but not on another. Weird. The one that did merge has an actual GV number, whereas the one that hasn't merged is just using GV for voicemail with no GV number. Don't know if that's the difference or not.
  • I never got the popup either, but I looked in the Hangouts settings and the option was there to integrate Voice & Hangouts. Have you looked in settings to see if you have the option to integrate?
  • there's not an option for that
  • That is weird. I would have assumed that by now everybody would have the option to merge Voice and Hangouts. Have you tried uninstalling Hangouts and the Voice app then reinstalling them?
  • Could be like the other person said above as my GV for voice mail with no GV number.
    It does list a number for me to get my voice mail.
  • You may be on to something here. Apparently I don't have a "Google Voice Number", I have a "Google voicemail access number". I didn't know there was a difference, do I actually need a GV number? All I want is to receive my voicemails through GV and to place free calls to Canada, and the way I have it right now, both those things work. But the GV app is terrible.
  • Try logging into google voice from your computer and see if you can merge from there.
  • I haven't gotten it yet either. Nor is there an option to merge in the settings. I am on the latest version. Also, neither my wife nor my sister has gotten the prompt yet. Are we just unlucky? I hadn't heard anything about it and just assumed Google had stopped the rollout, but now it seems like most people have it.
  • If you had a fully updated Hangouts app prior to the integration, that app will continue to tell you that it is the latest version (but it is not). If you go to the Play Store on your phone or desktop, you'll have an INSTALL option on their latest version of Hangouts, which will force your phone to update and offer you the integration option.
  • Unfortunately it appears I do have the latest, I am not offered to install going to the app page. It says I have version 2.3.75731955.
  • I use Hangouts for SMS & hangout messaging. Posted via Motorola Xoom tablet
  • Same I really like the way Google going with this Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or Galaxy S5
  • I'm interested in what Google hangouts actually us. Is it social media? Posted via Android Central App
  • Hangouts is a cross-platform communication app made by Google. It's similar to Messager from Facebook.
  • Amen. I have a little lag at the start of calls, incoming and outgoing, but worth it 100%.
  • I want iMessage like texting from my computer. I'd also like for hangouts to catch on in the Android space like iMessage has for iOS Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure what iMessage does, but you can send SMS from hangouts on your computer.
  • I wish I could but I can't get the people in my life off of Facebook messenger. :( I can convince them for a day or so and then wham, they are back to texting me from fb. Very annoying lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • I deactivated my fb for a month for this reason. I prefer texts over FB messages.
  • I know that feeling. :( I stopped using facebook months ago and tell everyone to text me on hangouts (they have hangouts already installed , it can't be that hard ) . But no, they are calling me with words "hey, check your facebook" .
  • Is Google hangouts social media Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes. No. Sorta. Maybe?
  • I hate Facebook, but know too many people who only use it. Therefore I'm stuck with the the God awful app. Posted via Android Central App
  • That's because Facebook is ubiquitous, and everyone is on it as opposed to Hangouts. I tried, too--but no luck.
  • I'm hoping Android L brings some of the improvements you mentioned.
  • I sure hope so, but I'm not expecting it for a while.
  • If L were going to present significant improvements to Voice/Hangouts integration, I'm pretty sure they would've just put off the whole integration rollout until L's release. Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies
  • You'd think Posted via the Android Central App
  • For better or for worse, that's just not Google's style.
  • But what about phones that will not that the Lord update? Surely they'd have to do both anyway. Posted via Android Central App
  • I went all in as well... The only problem I've really had is a couple of timeouts making a call and I can't get an SMS from My bank (B.O.A). Texts and Pics are coming in fine and merging works "ok" (still a few outliers).
  • Right, this is actually an important issue for Google to solve, banks, alarm monitoring texts among other type of texts sent by automated systems many can't be routed to Google Voice which render it unreliable. Also, no international SMS, I don't mind paying for it like voice calls but the option is not even there. Lastly I can't mark as spam a number from hangouts. There are plenty of polishing items as many pointed, but these items are a deal breaker for many.
  • I wonder if the problem with getting texts from automated systems is due to the fact that Google Voice numbers were ported from landline numbers and not mobile numbers? Those systems might see them as landlines that can't receive SMS.
  • My GV number was originally a cell phone number and I have the same issue. I can get texts from some companies (AmEx, e.g.) but not Wells Fargo. Not sure where the issue is, but it's annoying.
  • Nothing merges like WebOS did. WebOS had unified messaging nailed four+ years ago and no one... NO ONE... Has come close since.
  • +1
  • Ahh the good ole days of webOS... :/ I forgot how great that messaging app was. Thanks for making me sad this morning...
  • WebOS ...still the best mobile operating system crippled by mediocre hardware
  • I'm trying to go all in also, working so far ok with Red Pocket's data-only SIM cards ($5 for 512 MB or $10 for 1 GB per month). One of the critical features that needs fixing is able to change the incoming voice call ringtone, the default one is too quiet and can't be changed right now, so it's too easy to miss incoming calls unless the environment is quiet.
  • How is call quality *on the other end* -- I am on data-only AT&T SIM (3GB = $30) and people keep complaining. I can hear them well, though... Also, what's your hardware?
  • Thanks for the this. I tried to go "all in" today with hangout as my phone messenger mainly because I use the Chrome browser on my home and office computer, and wanted to be able to see received texts on those computers also. But my hangouts chrome extension does not show my hangout text messages on my Moto X (2014), which I set as my default texting app. Any ideas?
  • Are you wanting to see texts to and from your Voice number or your carrier number? Voice texts should show up just fine with the Chrome extension (mine does). Carrier texts do not show up. That kinda makes sense. Google's servers aren't receiving the text.
  • I opted to use my Verizon number as my GV number, so maybe that's the problem. Thanks for the explanation!
  • I have 2.3.75...... I use voice for voicemail but still have not had the popup to migrate.
  • I never got the popup either, but I looked in the Hangouts settings and the option was there to integrate Voice & Hangouts. Have you looked in settings to see if you have the option to integrate?
  • This would be so perfect but i no longer have sprint and cannot integrate my mobile number as my google voice number. :(
  • you could port.
  • I had this issue. Go to your Google Voice settings in a browser, remove your phone, and add it again. When it asks you to integrate your number, choose to do so, and it should enable.
  • Being on Sprint one of the things keeping me from switching is my google voice integration. Is that available on other carriers now? Also, when they first started the voice/hangouts integration it did not play nice with sprint/voice integration. Anybody know if that has been fixed?
  • The biggest thing for me about the new Hangouts dialer is the fact that you can receive calls while traveling overseas to you Google voice number! That way contacts can make local calls to you while you travel anywhere you have a data connection! Google voice still doesn't allow call forwarding to international numbers so this is huge step. Making free voip calls to North America via Hangouts while overseas is big deal too. No need for grooveip anymore... Posted via the Android Central App
  • ....unless you're going to China. :-(
  • does MMS work?
  • MMS works for me using Sprint and Tmobile. Not sure about ATT or Verizon...
  • thanks. another issue i read was caller ID not showing up?
  • I've been using Hangouts exclusively for the last two weeks as well, and I've had no issues with caller ID not showing up. YMMV, obviously, but it's worked 100% for me so far. Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies
  • Ditto. No MMS, but the only person who sends me MMMS (instead of hangouts images) is my wife's mother in law and she a $&%%() pain in the @$$.
  • I'm on Sprint with a G2. Caller ID is an issue for me. When a call comes in I get a number but not a name/picture for saved contacts unless that contact is on Google+. When I place calls I can hear the participant fine, but they always hear me with distortion. Also, my biggest complaint is that every time I send an sms it sends it twice, once from G Voice and once from carrier. I haven't figured out yet how to prevent that in the settings. I would also love the ability to import existing google voice voicemails and texts into hangouts.
  • (1) Have you chosen Hangouts as your default SMS? (2) If you have the ability to disable sms texting from your cell number, this might solve your issue.
  • My phone shows text messages being sent both ways as well, but when I asked a friend if she received it twice, she said no. So I guess I'm not blowing up my friends with double SMS all day, for what that's worth
  • NO!!!
  • Can receive from T-mobile and Sprint customers. And send via GV and have other Hangouts users get it. That's better than nothing, but it's not great.
  • unacceptable. how am i supposed to receive titty pics?
  • Snapchat Posted via the Android Central App
  • Or tinder. Just ask Kevin... Er, ... "Cage"
  • MMS doesn't work on T-Mobile when you are on WiFi calling. Disable WiFi calling and Hangouts MMS starts working. Except when it doesn't.
  • No, the issue is MMS doesn't work on T-Mobile when WIFI is ON. Forget WiFi calling. Just having WiFi ON sometimes makes MMS not work on T-Mobile. There is such confusion around this issue. That said, MMS has worked for me on T-Mobile recently with WiFi on. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a question about managing your voicemail settings. Are you able to do this from your integrated app now? I can't figure out how to assign or change one of my pre-recorded messages from anywhere other than the Google Voice web app.
  • Nope you still can only change the vociemail settings from the google voice web page.
  • This is definitely the elephant in the room at the moment. The front-end has been nicely integrated, but almost nothing has been done with the back-end. Google needs to get on that, stat. The ideal end result would be that everything could be managed inside Hangouts.
  • They do need to fix that. That said, I'm so damned thrilled to have it integrated... Eff it, I don't care.
  • Is this compatible with T-Mobile when Wi-Fi is on? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well it's a VoIP call, so when you're on Wifi it doesn't matter who your carrier is. You could not have a SIM in and still call over Wifi.
  • I mean the SMS/mms side Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same answer as above. This uses your Google Voice number, not your T-Mobile number.
  • Only if the person you're texting (sms/mms) is on Hangouts too. Otherwise it needs to use you carrier #/plan.
  • That's not even slightly true. You can text to any number from Hangouts, not just other Hangouts members. I do it all the time. With my Google Voice number.
  • My biggest issue since the the merges is I want to be able to click the persons profile picture when i'm viewing all my chats and it will open there address book entry.
  • Just click on their picture in one of their responses to you. It's odd that it won't do it from the all messages screen, but you can get to their contact info from an already established conversation with them.
  • I use Google for a lot of things.. most things.. but not this lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • This article made me try this. Well done Posted via the Android Central App
  • My problem is trying to send a message with voice commands it will only use my carrier number instead of my voice number. Even when I set my voice number as my default sms in the settings. It even warns me when I select that option that outside apps may still use the carrier number when accessing hangouts, so I hope it's an issue they are fixing.
  • With this you are not able to look at older messages like you do with Google voice alone Posted via the Android Central App
  • MMS is an absolute deal breaker. I waited for years with Google Voice and just as I was going to give up there were rumors of a hangouts integration last year. I hung on hoping for Google I/O ... nothing. Then finally last month the integration. Yet MMS still doesn't work. People that send me an MMS from AT&T or Verizon still think it went through and still think I'm rude for not replying when actually I never receive the MMS. Also, I agree the dialer for hangouts needs to be improved. Since Google programmed the dialer for Android why can't they make the Hangouts dialer the same. One thing I always use is the ability to start typing a contact's name on the number pad and the dialer will recognize, with Hangouts it only recognizes the numbers being entered not the corresponding letters.
  • The MMS thing has been fixed. You can get MMS from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile now, as well as a few others. You can't from Verizon, though, but that's because Verizon refuses to work with Google for whatever reason
  • Thanks for the info. That explains a lot... I often try to setup group messages. As soon as I select a Verizon number, hangouts errors out (except it does not state the reason.) Google should be more explicit (and, if necessary throw verizon under the bus). Heck, I am a verizon customer. The only way I can start a MMS is to switch back to Verizon Messaging (using my verizon number -- which no one knows, since I ported my known number to Google). This is a real pain. Google should either come up with a different solution, or press on the carriers to play.
  • The Hangout/GV integration is a great first step, but as stated in the article there are still some things that need to be worked out... not just for the Hangouts app, but for Google Voice and how its handled by Android in general. For example, Android Wear is completely oblivious to Google Voice. Replies to Hangout SMS messages are okay, but initiating an SMS via Android Wear will not use your Google Voice number. Call rejection with an SMS is the same way (uses your carrier number instead of Google Voice number). There needs to be some kind of system-level hook into SMS/MMS for Google Voice, so that apps that aren't specifically programmed to use Google Voice can still be made to do so.
  • I'm a fulltime Voice user and I went all in when the merging features first went live, but just recently decoupled them after a bunch critical text messages arrived hours (and in one case, days) late. Hangouts proved it is just not reliable enough to handle Voice features yet, often crashing and not updating or alerting when new messages arrive. Not being able to quickly choose between "Hangout" and "SMS" also makes outgoing communications unreliable and it makes a mess out of the Hangouts app in Gmail with all the different communication types mashed together. I like the idea of the services integrating and becoming one, robust, communications solution, but it's just not there yet.
  • There's a huge bug when integrating voice with hangouts. If you start a sms message with someone you haven't texted before (deleting the conversation counts), then you are forced to send the message through google voice instead of being able to choose. This is killer for people outside the US. You have to go to settings ->sms->send sms from and change smart reply to your own number. That means that you can't send new messages from google voice unless you turn it back.
  • Hence why I'm not doing this yet. With the old way, you could easily just go into the Google Voice app and send someone an SMS the first time. Then it'd go through and send it using your Google Voice number. When they reply, it goes to my regular SMS app and then I can reply through that and it goes through my Google Voice number.
  • I've been all in with the Hangouts Dialer for about 2 weeks now. Prior to that, my Google Voice number was my daily driver. No one had my SIM phone number. It's been an up-and-down experience. I like how hangouts texting is integrated into hangouts. I can text from the hangouts chrome extension or from within Gmail. It has that smart notification so I wont get a notification on my phone if gmail is an active window on my computer. I like that I can make full VOIP calls. It works better than the Voice/GrooveIP workaround that I was previously using. I use Tmo's 100 min plan and VOIP calls don't count towards my limit. I am getting MMS picture texts now. I can't confirm group texts yet, but I assume they do. I don't like the bugs. Until yesterday, when I made a call it would only ring twice. After that it would be silent till the calling end picked up or it went to voicemail. There is also a short lag (~5 seconds) between answering an incoming call and the call connecting. My biggest issue with hangouts though, is that some calls don't even connect. I would answer a call, but it would just be silent until i or the caller ends the call. I think the issue is connected to landlines, but I am unsure. It has happened on a number of occasions from a number of callers, but not always. tl;dr Committing to Hangouts is a frustrating experience. If you don't want to deal with the bugs, give it a few months till Google can sort it all out. If you want to be part of the bleeding edge and have people roll their eyes at you because you're stubbornly using an app that isn't consistently working but it gives you a smug sense of satisfaction, do it!
  • I've had the same issue with having to wait 5-10 seconds after accepting a call before I can hear the caller or the caller hear me. I hope it gets optimized soon!
  • Thanks for this post, it is extremely helpful. I am playing around with the idea of using TMO's 100minute plan that is $30 and using my GV number. Do you find that you blow through the 5GB LTE quickly with using VOIP via GV? Is the throttled back speed (2G I assume) adequate enough to make/receive calls? Thanks for any insight! I am all for giving this a try.
  • I love the idea. But I can't listen to vmails in hangouts. It always says unable to load.
  • Whenever I call someone using hangouts it comes up as unavailable on their phone, is there any way to fix this? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think it is awful. Google is trying to prop up Hangouts using the popularity of GV but didn't have the decency to do it correctly.
  • I'm a full time GV user also. I have accounts with different carriers, and GV makes it very easy to switch handsets on the fly. That aside, the GV/Hangouts integration doesn't seem ready for primetime. And with VOIP I have to wonder if Google is running analytics on my voice calls they easy they do with email and text messages. I'm glad to see the progress, but I'm not crossing over just yet.
  • I'm liking these 'all in' articles. Gives me a better sense of how something works in the real world.
  • It's 1000 times better than before!!!
  • I've had basically the same exact experience as you Andrew. The only real complaint I have (other than the random hangouts crashes, but it's not often) is the hangouts dialer not being considered a regular dialer like you mentioned. I like being able to type in a phone number and have Google know the business name and such. I have unlimited minutes, so I'f I'm out I still use regular dialer, but the call quality on the hangouts dialer I think is better than the ATT I'm using. It would be a dream if android L incorporated this stuff at system level. We can dream!! Otherwise as far as SMS goes It has been amazingly smooth. Way better than the previous way i did it with forwarding texts with wonky numbers.
  • Hey Andrew, What is data usage line for calls when not in Wi-Fi? What happens if you have habits ring got incoming calls and still forward calls to your carrier number? I suspect until you can continue that, for example "ring habits when in Wi-Fi, carrier when not," this won't work for most people. Posted via Android Central App
  • Data usage is pretty minimal. Small enough that I haven't noticed it impacting my total for the month. I'll be sure to do some more scientific testing soon. As far as calls go, if you choose to receive VoIP calls to hangouts in the settings you need to also turn off incoming call forwarding to that phone from the google voice website. Sadly there's no real easy way to toggle those choices based on your network state. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Andrew - it sounds like you are able to receive calls in hangouts without the cell network - purely VOIP. I haven't been able to successfully do this since this beginning of the merger and I tried to turn off forwarding to my cell number tonight and still no-go. How'd you do it, or am I misunderstanding? I can make VOIP calls no problem.
  • I love the idea but ita sad that almost nobody of my friends use it :/
  • Yep everyone in my family have Android devices but they all use Whats App Messaging ....
  • I've tried hangouts for a while, but it's just not there yet. It still has a very long way to go. Here are a few of my gripes1. Can't send more than one picture at a time
    2. Can't send different types of files besides pic and vid
    3. It's slow to launch
    4. Lacks so many features present on my Galaxy Note messaging app, including scheduling messages
  • Google has big plans for this. Notice the hangout apk is now called "Android talk" I've also been using this as a dialer and sms/hangouts. I tap the hangout icon lower left hand corner and pick sms or hangouts. Hangouts messages are green and sms are white. The dialer I sometimes use. It gives option to use carrier or voip call by tapping the phone or hangout icon. The app all in all has a way to go but with that said it has come a long way as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Android Talk" is left over from the old Google Talk app, it's not anything that would indicate some new direction
  • Because I have Sprint integration with Google Voice, I was an am happy with having GV separate from Hangouts, at least for a while. All calls and SMS' come from my GV number whether they are from my Sprint phone dialer/SMS app or any other source like GV from my desktop, and I like having copies of call logs, SMS messages, voicemails all accessible and searchable in the GV website.. And I still like having SMS and Hangouts messaging separate - they are separate things after all. I might install the Hangouts dialer without integrating the SMS & voicemail to let me make VoIP calls when the Sprint signal is bad...?
  • I am loving Hangouts more with every update. It is becoming a very powerful all-in-one communication tool and I hope they continue to refine it. That said, I really really really wish Google would put some of their billions behind a "consumer help team." That is, they do a beyond pathetic/nonexistent job of explaining new apps, features, changes, etc. They need this consumer team to explain what's going on with all their stuff. I mean we're not all IT professionals Google, but they sure act like it. Whether its a new OS version or just an app update, they never explain anything or show how to use or what to do. It's you go, enjoy that update, and good luck figuring it out! Come on!
  • Very annoying that you can't do Group Texting! Posted via the Android Central App
  • You know what would be nice is a detailed description on how to actually get your carrier phone number as your google voice number without interrupting your carrier service. Thats what I want to do but I am nervous to do this because I don't want to interrupt my carrier data service (tmobile)
  • If you port your google voice number to Google Voice it ends your current service because the carrier loses the number. The only way you can have that not happen is to get with your carrier to assign your number to a new account, then port it out. But that's not always easy or understood. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm all in with you on the choosing which number I want to send the texts from. I tried going in the settings and switching from Smart reply to whichever number I wanted to use at the time...bad idea. It caused my GVoice messages to only show up in the Hangouts app on my Nexus 7 but not my phone anymore. Ended up having to uninstall and install both apps on my phone. If they fix this I'll be happy to wait awhile for the rest of the improvements.
  • Idk guys. I guess because I'm on Sprint and have always had full Google Voice integration everything is essentially gravy. Inspite of all the hate Sprint receives its nice just not having to worry about the weirdness of having a Google voice number and my normal phone number anymore since they are one and the same and just work. MMS and group message needs to be better integrated so there's some kind of Hangouts handover since right now it doesn't seem to recognize them at all. Also for heavens sake Google, make a default phone app!. Its insane having to pick up calls on both the phone and Hangouts Dialer idk what noob though that was a good idea. Otherwise just make handoff better and its fantastic!
  • I'm all in too. It's a godsend since T-Mobile's signal in my building sucks and my phone was an unlocked one that I bought over to T-Mo so I don't have their wifi dialing. I really like that calls ring my phone and my Macbook at the same time. Since I have a private office, I sometimes just pick up from the Mac. I'm very surprised at how good the sound is from both ends. But yeah, the SMS/texting part is a big of a clustermug. I mean it works but you need two dialogs to get there from the Chrome extension. That's weird. They also have to find a way to gracefully retire the old Google Voice app. That means handling voicemail, call screening, and things like that. I have to wonder if, at some point, Google is going to start to nickel and dime for this stuff.
  • I'm gonna wait a bit longer. Great article. Very much my experience as well. I never thought of disabling the forwarding to my carrier number. This explains the dual call notifications (that was odd the first time it happened). Plus waiting for my X to be delivered (why did I o with the White face?) Totally agree that it's great to see Google cleaning this up and making one helluva strong app and service.
  • "There's also no elegant way to choose when you're using Google Voice or your carrier number for SMS" THIS! Must be fixed... Quite annoying, actually.
  • I could not agree with you more . The App has gone backwards in my opinion !!!
  • This doesn't have anything to do with the VOIP service, which I've been very happy using so far, but I really want them to bring back the "swipe to archive" function. Long-pressing and then selecting Archive is a pain in the ass. Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies
  • No latency?? You're lucky!! Get get a MINIMUM of a full one second delay while using google voice both incoming and outgoing, with EXCELLENT signal strength on Tmo LTE. YMMV!!!
  • I have a few words about this update. First, why the hell doesn't Hangouts take charge for Google Now triggers? For example, if I tell Google Now to "Message Blake, Are we still doing lunch at 12?", I expect Google Now to ask me how I want to send that message, and remember that selection. Preferably, I want to have it go via either Hangouts or as a text from my gVoice number. Instead, selecting Hangouts for that input makes Hangouts send a text from my carrier number, even though I never send texts from that number. Second, switching to using the Hangouts dialer is (probably) not going to work with things like bluetooth features in cars, which makes this anything but a daily driver (no pun intended). I really wish they would be more "Google-y" with their implementation here, since this is something that Google Voice users have wanted for a very long time. Last, being able to switch between VOIP and standard carrier cell connection would be incredibly useful. In my basement, I get shit coverage, but everywhere else my cell service actually isn't too bad. Then again, at work I probably get a better 4g signal than voice signal, since calls come in broken most of the time. A system that detects signal on-the-fly and switches automatically would be AMAZING! Oh well, Google's really starting to disappoint lately...
  • Service gets better, but still isn't perfect, and that is somehow more disappointing than when it was worse? Pfft.
  • I didn't say it was more disappointing, just that it is disappointing. Google should be able to implement a much better service than what CM and Koush did with Voice+.
  • Hopefully someone can help me I was using hangouts sms for a good couple of months on my g2. I then purchased a new moto x and now when I receive mms pictures through the hangouts sms app the pictures I send and receive are super blurry. Almost like it is compressing it but it never did this before. Does anyone know how to fix this?
  • My problem with hangouts is that I am not receiving all my SMS messages. Some show up, some don't. I know they are there because MightyText shows all of them and when I switch to stock messaging app they are all there, but when I switch back to Hangouts, they're gone again. Strange bug...and I hope Google is aware. Have had to deactivate Hangouts for texting until this is sorted.
  • Someone mentioned this bug in Google Products Forum ,!forum/en , under the sub heading Hangouts ...
  • This would have been great back in 2010 when minutes cost a premium. These days data is what costs money, and unlimited voice minutes come with just about any plan. I used Google Voice as a work around for free minutes with a T-Mobile My Favs plan for a few years, but really have no use for it now. I actually got rid of my GV number altogether awhile back. The lack of full MMS integration, and having two different phone numbers was just more hassle than it was worth. Posted via Android Central App
  • i love this idea but what sucks is that i live in the U.S. Virgin Islands...and we are considered "international" so i cant go full hangouts because my local calls arent free..they need to fix this...ill be full blast after that!
  • The question is will google come back and do that next big update. They don't have a a good history on following through. I pay for data unless on wifi so not likely to do this. I might try making a few calls and see what happens. The whole Google Voice integration is confusing. I consider myself a technical person but I wouldn't recommend it for the average person as I get lost. I've got it set up and working so afraid to mess with it. I do like that new updates seem to allow me to text someone without having to use a weird psuedo # for them and it still comes from my GV #. Also I can now SMS to them from the computer and it shows up on the phone too.
  • This is useless to me on the road, and I travel a lot. Regular Google Voice integration with my cell phone suffices for my work number. Posted via Android Central App
  • Um... cell service? Maybe not as reliable on the road, but far from useless.
  • I was talking about hangouts out and voice over IP. That part is pretty much useless to me when I'm on the road. So there is no utility to me in having hangouts integration. Google Voice forwarding to my cell is good enough. Posted via Android Central App
  • There's no restriction on the VoIP having to use WiFi. It works over cellular data too. Obviously that might be a problem going through an area with bad coverage, but it works pretty well when I'm on LTE.
  • I've been waiting for Google to finally get around to this and I've steadily been doing the same thing you've been doing, relying solely on Hangouts and GV. The biggest issue I'm running into is the lack of support for the call and hangup buttons on headsets. I get done with a call and have to pull the phone out of my pocket because pushing the end call button on my headset doesn't do anything. Good to see the direction they are going. Like you I'm looking forward to the next updates. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I didn't get a secondary number. It connected with my original number. Posted via Android Central App
  • Could somebody please help me on this? What exactly is this? Is it social media? Posted via Android Central App
  • It started out as an all in one messenger app .
    You can send conversations or Hangouts , as they are called , to people who have the App , which uses data .... ( " free " )
    Or you can send normal sms to everyone in your contacts .... ( each sms costs you )
    Now they are trying to merge into the app cellphone calls , voice calls , voice mail etc
  • Can someone tell me, on the hangouts chrome extension, when I go to create a new hangout, I start typing the name of one of my phone contacts and I get a bunch of people that I have no idea who the hell they are? How can I remove all those from popping up so that only my actual hangouts and sms contacts show up? Thanks
  • They should be people you have in your G+ circles.
  • I like the number I have with my carrier is there a way to still use that number via VOIP such as forwarding carrier to google? Posted via Android Central App
  • I have also migrated to using Hangouts full time. I have learned to set my regular number as the default in sending SMS/MMS, which made things easier for me to start with. I wish they would develop this as a replacement native dialer app. Saying that, the contacts part of Hangouts needs a lot of work. Right now, if you tap on a contact, it immediately assumes you want to send them a message. That's understandable because Hangouts is basically a messaging app. But when they integrated Google Voice with it, expectations started piling up. Definitely, there is a lot of developing needed to get done here. But I am not complaining on what they have accomplished so far. This is what I have waited for a long time. Hangouts is now a rival to iMessage, and possibly better.
  • Free calls between hangouts must be only available in the US. Hello Google we don't all live in the US. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hello, Seamus, Google is a US-based company. People outside the US really need to get that through their head and to stop complaining about it in EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE. That's like complaining that Korea gets Samsung phones before anyone else. That's just how it is.
  • I would give hangouts more of try but can't receive MMS when I have WiFi calling enabled. Only works with the default HTC messages app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Welcome to the club! Posted via Android Central App (Nexus 7)
  • "...when you tap a link to call a number on your phone that call is still routed through the standard phone dialer. For all my effort to be solely in Hangouts for calls, there's no getting around this one until Google makes a change." What about, "Make all calls using Google Voice"? I've used that feature successfully on my old phone with no SIM card & calls route to the dialer & use GV.
  • Just when minutes become unlimited people rush to this lashup broken half baked solution? What's wrong with you folks?
    It's supposed to get simpler, not less so.
  • I can see this being useful for people who have a tablet with a SIM card. They don't generally get minutes for that device, but would still be able to make calls. For phones, yeah, don't see as much appeal.
  • It's actually designed well for people who are on T-Mobile's 100 minutes of talk/Unlimited Text/5 GB data plan for $30.
  • How is it well designed for that plan? Instead of using your minutes, you're using your limited data.
  • It uses a tiny amount of data. You're going to get way, way more than 100 minutes of calls on 5GB of data.
  • How do you know that? Are there stats of how much data a second of voice uses?
  • It's a single channel of compressed audio. It's not much. I haven't noticed any significant change in my data usage since i started using it. Let's do some basic math, though. Let's say Google uses a fairly common VoIP codec of decently high quality, say 64 Kbps (G.711). Cisco says the overhead of this codec takes it up to about 90 Kbps in real-world use. In one minute you would use 5.4 megabits of data, or 675 kilobytes. One gigabyte of data would be equivalent to almost 1500 minutes. That's assuming a fairly high quality codec. In all likelihood, Google's using something with a lower bitrate.
  • I've been "All-In" for almost a month now and I agree, I am not going back! If for no other reason than I no longer have to worry about minutes. Having a grandfathered Unlimited data plan from Verizon, I already had no worries about data (especially with VZW cancelling plans to throttling the remaining Unlimiteds). I have in fact removed my cell number from Google Voice as a number to forward to. Now, I have had a dropped call and one very bad delay call but that was through a well-known deadzone and on a bad Wifi signal respectively. I'm hoping Google will make Hangouts capable of taking over as system dialer because shortcuts will jump to the old dialer. And of course, I'm still waiting to be able to receive MMS through my GV number. But it's worth it. I love being able to text and message from Hangouts on my computer or my phone. Love getting transcribe voicemails through Hangouts. I love being able to take the power away from the carriers. I was this close to ditching VZW if they're throttling plan impacted me too much. I'm almost to the point where I could ditch a carrier all together and run with Wifi at home and at work and use a Mifi with minimal data for travel in between. I might try it here just to see how it goes.
  • I have no desire to give Google the ability to potentially listen in or record and store all of my voice and text transmissions. Is my life that interesting? No. But Google gets storage cheap.
  • Uh...they're not doing that. If you're really worried about that, then get off the internet and go live in a shack in the woods because lots of companies have the potential to do that, but don't.
  • Hi , have learned a lot from you guys at the Podcast . But as far as I and the vast majority of uses , just take a look in " Google Products Forums " , and you will see that the last update to the Hangouts app has " broken it . This last update undid everything that the previous major update gave us .
    1 SMS and Hangouts are not automatically merged , you have to open both a Hangouts conversation as well as a SMS conversation and then merge them ,
    2 You cannot make a group conversation because the " Anyone Else " button which appears at the top of the conversation is only there for a split second and then it is gone .
    I don't know what updates up received, and I quote " After dabbling around with things and watching bugs get fixed for a week after..... " which " fixed the problems , I have the latest update that is in the App Store .
    No bugs have been fixed , exactly the opposite " Google acknowledge " that they knew about a problem etc .
    I am a 100 % Pure Android user and don't use third party apps if Google has one , that is why I have the Nexus 5 etc
  • P.S. Is all this " one App " for all our communications REALLY necessary .
    I was quite happy with the way things where before the latest update came along .
  • The title is a little deceiving because the vast majority of the upside benefit of Google Voice (and what I believe you're hinting at in the article) is using GV with a limited voice plan such as the T-Mobile $30 to obtain unlimited voice minutes. Aside from that --- my experience using Google Voice via the new Hangouts is clunky at best. I have two Google Voice numbers. When I connect both to Hangouts accounts the lag in opening some conversations is comical. Click a conversation. Count 1-2-3-4-5. The conversation that I tapped turns blue and then the message opens and I can type. There are several embarrassing design flaws in Hangouts: a. For Group messages you cannot remove someone from the conversation (you have to ask them to leave or start a new group hangout) b. For notifications you cannot tell Hangouts to only notify you for the first x incoming alerts as you can with other modern apps. There's nothing more annoying than sitting down for dinner and have your phone on the counter across the room and it starts buzzing constantly as a Hangout group exchanges a steady stream of messages. Why can't I tell Hangouts that after the first x notifications from a group to stop sending me more until I check messages?? Hangouts in my book is just ok. It's starting to have that "bloated" feel of mobile Skype where developers received marching orders from upper management to "just get the damn thing working" and to that end they're throwing in everything but the kitchen sink into the product to meet some list of product development goals. There's still a LOT of work to be done here.
  • How many people nowadays don't have unlimited minutes? Far more have data limits.
  • In my case, I have no minutes. I'm on T-Mobile's $10 tablet plan. They match my $10 a month SIM to my wife's phone's data (5gb in her case). So this is potentially a GREAT deal. I'm on day 1 of my experiment and it's working well so far. My question: Is there anyway to SKIP the "hangouts" call. Seems once Google figures out a number has Hangouts, it will try to do Hangouts to Hangouts. So if my Dad calls me, my Hangouts rings, and I get a GREAT call. If I call him, it goes not to his phone number, but to his Hangouts app, and right now he's in a crappy hotel with lousy wifi, and the quality stinks. There seems to be no way to force hangouts to make a regular phone call to a user who has hangouts attached to his number.
  • I don't get it. Were people not getting texts from Google Voice to their regular SMS app? I've been doing that for years. I never have to go into the Voice app either. I'm also not relegated to a single SMS app for communicating using my Google Voice number.
  • I migrated to Hangouts for my texting needs since it fully integrates with my Moto 360. Samsung's messaging app would pop a notification up on my watch but I couldn't read the full text. Hangouts lets me see the whole text along with all of the past texts too. I don't use it for calling though since I'm not an avid Google Voice user. I would switch to Hangouts for calling if it was able to integrate with my phone number. That would mean me using one less Samsung Touchwiz app and I'm always up for that.
  • When you say integrate with you phone number how do you mean? The way I am setup currently I can make or receive calls from wither my carrier or GV numbers, but I let GV control all the VM so messages from both numbers go to one place. If that is what you mean its is definitely doable.
  • I still can't get over trading cheap minutes for expensive data with VOIP use.
  • True, if you were on a non unlimited data plan, however if you were using WiFi you would not affect your data allotment so it could help for people who end up close to their minutes limit if they have WiFi available most places.
  • What would be nice is if they had a feature for "wifi only" that would switch over to cell minutes instead of data once you left wifi range
  • So interesting how polarizing something like this is. If Google forced integration like this I would switch platforms. However, some people like it as if it is the ultimate gift. I only tolerate Voice because Nexus phones don't come with visual voicemail. If I could I would be done with anything involving Voice or Hangouts. They are confusing and un-enjoyable to use. Google is so inconsistent as well. They seem like a big amateur company. They want to integrate all these features into hangouts but then with their other apps like Office they want to separate everything when those made more sense to be combined. Their design style is very inconsistent in their various apps as well.
  • I couldn't agree more with the title, as a Google Voice user for my Primary number for 6+ years and now with the marriage of SMS, MMS, Talk, and now GVoice I couldn't be happier. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Since their advent Google has chosen the ready, fire, aim approach, using a shotgun at that. Disappointing from a company with so many resources. A company with ADHD. Posted via Android Central App
  • I've definitely experienced the issues mentioned by Andrew and also really think that the new Handouts and Hangouts Dialer feel unfinished when compared to the native Android dialer and People app. I must be the only person who's tried answer calls with the Hangout Dialer fully enabled using a Bluetooth enabled headphone w/mic or Bluetooth enabled car stereo, because you can't pick up calls using a Bluetooth device with the hangouts dialer activated and received by the dialer via any connected Bluetooth devices... I also noticed that you don't get a answer/decline prompt in Android Wear like you do with the native phone app! As a result I've disabled the use Hangouts for "incoming calls" option in the Hangouts Dialer, deleted the Hangouts Dialer app, and re-enabled call forwarding via the Google Voice web app to my cellphone... Overall while pretty good and definitely a whole lot better than the Google Voice Android app implementation, it still feels like a half cooked betaish product as is. I hope that it's functionality improves in future app updates and with the L release as I'd really like to use it as my default phone/dialer app, but cannot do so due to both Andrew's and my own above mentioned deficiencies.
  • I love what Google is trying to do w/ Hangouts. But dang! Can't they just make a feature somewhat fully functional before releasing it?
  • Once I merged google voice to hangouts, the whole thing turned into a big disaster. Google voice took over all of my sms messaging. I could no longer send out text messages from my carrier # using hangouts, even though hangouts showed it was sending from carrier #. It was actually sending from google voice #. Even the default messaging app was sending from google voice #. I went on the blogs and no one could help. It may be that Hangouts does not play nice with CyanogenMod, so I ended up having to cancel GV.
  • You're not using any kind of carrier integration are you? Such as Sprint's?
  • Not that I know of. His would I know? T-Mobile is my carrier.
  • That's the only reason I can think of that it would ignore your carrier number; if carrier integration had been set up to make that happen.
  • Is there a way for me to check if I have carrier integration?
  • What do you see if you go here?
  • CyanogenMod has a feature that, when enabled, sends ALL SMS messages from the phone via GV, regardless of it's origin. So, any messaging app you use will always use GV. You probably have this active somehow.
  • Does Hangouts have an option to have a message popup on any screen you are on like the default Messaging app? Posted via Android Central App
  • It does this by default, if you have the Chrome extension installed. New messages will pop up on all screens, and then automatically close on any systems other than the one you're responding on. If you mean on Android, it shows up as a standard notification, like it always has.
  • Unfortunately not . I miss that ...
  • I want to go all in with Google Voice... They just need to get SMS working 100% of the time and get MMS to work. Once those two things happen I will say goodbye to my old cell number and just use my Voice number.
  • SMS works 100% for me, and MMS has been fully integrated into GV as of 4 days ago
  • ok the solution is still only about 40% baked.
    *Cannot figure out a way to change voice mail from the app
    *no caller id when it comes up on the computer and all my contacts are synced into google,
    *sending an sms from the hangouts app on your computer is a PITA... even if you can find the contact (usually cannot) as it wants to sent a hangouts message to people that have public profiles
    *voice mail shows up on your computer hangouts app but usually has not be transcribed or cannot listen to it
    clicking on the phone button in hangouts (to call someone back from a vmail) uses VoIP and has the author indicated BLOWS. OTT VoIP is not a solution to use on a mobile device unless you are on wifi or a major area with lots of extra bandwidth and a good connection (low latency) which is nearly never I am not recommending turning it on to anyone that asks me
  • Tis a lovely dream. I tried to do the whole integration thing, only to run screaming after a few days. The problem: i have Sprint with an integrated Google Voice number. This makes the whole thing a major shit-show. My friends were receiving 50 or 60 copies of texts I sent them, and MMS was a nightmare. After some helpful hints on the Google product support blog didn't work, I uninstalled and went back to the old way. Now, when you go to the Hangouts support page, it specifically advises the new system won't work with Sprint. It's disappointing that those of us who integrated with Sprint can't take advantage of the newness. I'm sure they'll fix it sooner or later, but until then, I'm back using the Google Voice app :(
  • You could "disintegrate" your Sprint-GV number. Port that number to GV and ask Sprint to give you a new number.
  • Weird. I'm on Sprint and using their integration, and I haven't had a single problem. I'm using the separate numbers integration. That is my Google Voice and Sprint numbers are different (and forwarding happens automatically whether or not I'm using any apps). Did you pick the option where your Google Voice number becomes your Sprint number?
  • Sprint has an option to integrate the number. I.e. you only have one number, your Sprint number is your GV number. Hence the OP's problem.
  • That was my guess. I went for the separate numbers option, because I had heard about issues with the "one number" choice. It's always worked perfectly. Send a message from my Sprint number, and their back-end servers automatically forward from my Google Voice number. No one's ever confused about what number I use. Simple.
  • In the US, almost every carrier offers unlimited voice and text, and limited data. As someone who is on such a plan, is there a reason to switch to entirely VoIP based voice & txt rather than leveraging the free stuff?
  • The main reason? Your number isn't just on your phone. You can take calls and sms on your pc/laptop. Phone's dead? No problem. Also options: WiFi-only tablets and/or phones without cell service. Don't have good cell service, but WiFi is available? Great, now you've got crystal clear calls. Google Voice is really about giving you more flexibility with your number, and it does give you quite a bit.
  • Does Hangouts work with WiFi only for making and receiving calls with tablets and SIM-less phones? (That is, making and receiving calls to landlines and mobile lines).
  • Yep. I use it to take calls on a Nexus 4 that doesn't have cell service. Works great.
  • Hey thanks @powermatt!!!!
  • I've just gone "all-out" of voice/hangouts.
    But they do good stuff. hard to reduce google usage to zero.
  • My biggest complaint about hangouts calls: without a google voice number, all my calls show on caller ID as "unknown" and no one answers my calls
  • Well then they need to put your google voice number in their contacts, don't they?
  • that's the thing, I don't have a google voice number, or anything google voice. It's an odd user experience to call someone from hangouts, to someone who hangouts, and they have no idea who is calling them. I like the idea of "voice over data" calls, but if no one knows who is calling them that is a key gap. I know we are in between phases, but it is still a no good end user experience. Most people don't even know what google voice is.
  • Ah well yes, if you don't have a Google Voice number, Google's just going to assign you one at random with each call. As I mentioned in a comment way up above, the back-end of this integration is still a mess. However, once you do sign up for a number and get it set up, you can safely ignore it until you need to change a number again. Then you'll have a static number everyone can add to their contacts.
  • @AndrewMartonik You mentioned " There's also no elegant way to choose when you're using Google Voice or your carrier number for SMS if you for some reason need it". If you click the left of the message field where its says SMS or has the hangout icon it lets you switch very easily between SMS (carrier), Hangouts, and my Voice numbers. it also indicates which i'm sending from in the background of the text field before you start entering a message.
  • Icon on the left indicates how you are reaching the *other* person. The background in the text field shows how that person perceives you (as your carrier number or as your GV number) and, most, importantly where does her reply go. Try changing *that*.
  • Not in here to knock Google/Android at all, but reading this article makes me even more thankful iMessage works as well as it does. It would be fantastic if iMessage was cross-platform but most of my friends/family use iPhones now so iMessage is all I need. When Google gets Hangouts to the same level as iMessage, it will be a highly impressive contender. Not to say it isn't a contender for best message/voice etc app, but I think iMessage does it a lot better, with the exception of being cross platform.
  • Have you tried it with the Galaxy Gear 2?
    Will I get my complete text message on the GG2? Since it will only give me title or who sent the msg if I use 3rd party apps.
  • Can anyone tell me the allure of VoIP calling? I don't see the benefit of it. Almost every carrier is now on unlimited calling plans, and data is getting to be very expensive.
  • Copying and pasting my comment from just a few posts up. "The main reason? Your number isn't just on your phone. You can take calls and sms on your pc/laptop. Phone's dead? No problem. Also options: WiFi-only tablets and/or phones without cell service. Don't have good cell service, but WiFi is available? Great, now you've got crystal clear calls. Google Voice is really about giving you more flexibility with your number, and it does give you quite a bit."
  • In US AT&T sells 3GB data-only SIMs for $30.00 outright (no taxes, FCC recovery fees, etc.). Unlimited voice and text + 1GB of data cost $40.00 (and that's a *very* good deal). Hopefully, this answers your question.
  • What about data usage? How much mobile data does the voice call use (say per minute)? I am wondering whether the $30 plan for 5GB of data from T-Mobile would work as a decent alternative to unlimited minutes plans. I use very little minutes and was looking for a plan that provides more data and less talk for the price.
  • It's minuscule. It's a single channel of compressed audio, likely in the range of a few KB/sec. Not enough to even notice, unless you're making a hundred calls a day.
  • The other day I received a voicemail in Hangouts (about 10 min after missing the call). When I went to retrieve the message (still hadn't translated yet), it would force close. I tried this about 3x and each time it would FC. So I went back to the old Google Voice app and was able to retrieve the VM that way. Later on in the day I went back to Hangouts to see if I could get the message and after it showed the translation, I was able to play back the message. So I don't know if this is an isolated incident or another bug to work out.
  • It's definitely a bug. I experience that a lot. Hope they fix it real soon.
  • I've been all-in on GV for a while. My three biggest issues: - Can't send or receive SMS to/from people outside of U.S. and Canada. C'mon Google, the world is a much bigger place! Most of my friends and family live outside these two countries, so I have to give them my carrier number. I don't expect this for free--I'm willing to pay, just like I pay to place voice calls outside the U.S. via GV--but I DO expect to be able to exchange SMS messages with any number in the world. Please make this a priority (and earn yourselves a little more revenue from me and millions of other customers). - Ditto for SMS to/from certain short codes. Some work and some don't. They all need to work. - Finally, ditto for MMS. When my sister sends me a picture via MMS, I should get it. Right now, it just drops into the bit bucket without even any notification.
  • I agree with this review. I really am happy they have finely (mostly) integrated Hangouts and Google Voice. Still not perfect. MMS is still a mess. Does not seem like I can send and receive MMS from someone sending a text with something other than Hangouts. Hopefully that gets fixed.
  • I just went all in and now when i get a phone call through Hangouts I'm not getting alerted through Android Wear. I'm using a G Watch with an HTC One. Any suggestions on what to change to show incoming callings coming in via Hangouts on Android Wear?
  • I have to wonder if it is always using VOIP -- I have switched to Google Voice on my Nexus 4 a while ago and recently decided to put data-only SIM into it. As soon as that happened, people on the other end reported garbled and stretched conversation more often than not, *even* when I am on WiFi. I have put regular phone SIM back and things went back to normal. Speedtest reports comparable data transfer rates for both SIMs. And to add to the list of things that use default dialer instead of Hangouts: your car's Bluetooth system. When I was using data-only SIM, I was not able to dial hands-free at all. Just my 2c.
  • I haven't used it to make any VoIP calls yet but I use it for text/voicemail/chat and still just use my GV number through the stock dialer. So far that all works for me but I do look forward to the next level of merging and I hope that is sooner than later.
  • ...great...and here's one of those 'has-nothing-to-do-with-the-thread' comments but...hey Andrew, was wondering where that cool colored brick wallpaper came from ? thanx !
  • I am a heavy Google Voice and Hangouts user. On the Android devices, integration is definitely improving. However, like others have pointed out, it drives me crazy that I cannot select what number (Google Voice or carrier) I can send texts from. My Google Voice number is my work number and my carrier is my personal number. Smart reply is the closest they have to a solution, but it still does not let you choose the number to send from. This should not be too difficult a fix, or am I missing something? Where things really begin to breakdown and become a hot mess is if you are trying to do this through the browser/computer. I When I work from my home office, I like to make calls from the landline using my Google Voice number. Right now, I still need to use the Google Voice extension. It gets even worse if you try to make a call from the contact record. If you move your cursor to the phone number in a contact record, two phone icons appear. One letting me call using Google Voice/landline and a second that lets me call using Hangouts/PC. Same with clicking on phone numbers from an email or website. If I click it is calls from Hangouts on the PC if I highlight it, it lets me call from Google Voice. What a mess!
  • My turn to have a go at this. Been wanting to try this for awhile but was scared. Doing this starting today. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hangouts on pc shows an SMS button on the message window with any user who has a mobile phone number stored in their contact info. Posted via Android Central App
  • After reading this I decided to try the SMS function of Hangouts. But after 15 minutes I switched back to my previous SMS app (Sliding messaging). Here's why: If my contact has a G+ account, then inside Hangouts it shows the name that is on G+ and not in my contacts. For example, I have a contact Mom, that has linked G+ account with full name. In Hangouts it shows my mom's full name as seen on G+, After Googleing around I found that it's not possible to change. It's annoying and very limiting. If I have a contact "Ex-girlfriend", then that's want I want to see in Hangouts, especially when sending an SMS to that person.
  • Until i can search in Hangouts (hello, google? - were you not a search engine at some point?) it is a no-go.....
  • Google uses "Least-Cost Routing" for phone calls, meaning you get whatever junk connection they can find, and it's been unreliable using their voice call plug-in in Chrome, and I suspect it's the same technology in Hangouts. This can end up routing to other countries, being tapped, who knows what, it's a vortex. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My problem with Hangouts (and many of the modern Google offerings) is that are still in this "One ring to rule them all" mindset where everything EVERYTHING is tied back to your Google+ ID. I don't know about you guys, but I have three Gmail accounts, and have had all 3 for close to a decade now. (Got them back in the gmail "invite only" beta days) This is a problem for me because I don't necessarily want them all tied together. Because Hangouts requires me to use a Google account, this means that one of my accounts has to be tied to my phone. The problem is, I use the different accounts for different things. The account I would normally use as my "primary" phone account is NOT the account that I actually use on G+ and YouTube for various things, and thus the account that is in use on my current version of Hangouts on my phone. I could go on, but you can see the issue here: if you want to keep various online "identities" separate, you cannot use "unified" setups like these. Frankly, I'm not that much of a fan of the GV app. it's old, slow, clunky, and ugly. But the updated Hangouts app is just more of the same thing, only with a prettier face.
  • Thanks for your article. I am in my early 60's and try desperately to keep up with changes in communications. A big "whew.. I thought it was just me" . I want a clean simple way to handle text and messaging from 1 phone #, 1 google voice #, and a couple of emails. Hangouts has the potential to do that.... but after reading your article I will stop spending and wasting any more of my time on trying to get Hangouts to work as I think it should...maybe next year. As a side note.... GVoice has been a life saver. My wife and I spend a few months a year somewhere else in the world than the USA and it is a great way to make free phone calls back to the rest of the family.
  • After reading through the comments we still do not have any discussion about dual ringing of the voice dialer and hangouts voice dialer. This is the #1 issue.
  • Wow after reading all these comments, no wonder hangouts is so fubared on iOS, google can't get its act together on Android! I'm really glad some of you are getting it to hold together so there is promise. The last iOS update killed incoming & outgoing calls & my message greeting - had to drop back to a 3rd party XMPP app. I consider myself "all in" & glad to know I'm not the only one getting burned living into a future we are clearly inspired by!
  • I want to use hangouts as my primary WiFi phone with google voice still forwarding to my cellular number. The problem I'm having is getting it to only receive calls on hangouts when on WiFi. It seems there's no back end way to disable calls being sent to hangouts - turning off forwarding to google chat in the google voice settings doesn't work. When just using google voice and a third party voip app like grooveip you can use another app, groove forwarder, to detect the WiFi status and automatically switch between google chat (voice) and the cell number. It seems this is no longer the case with hangouts.
  • Is there a way to do this and keep your standard phone number active as well?
  • In my humble opinion the only reason why people are using Google Hangouts or whatsapp is because they live in countries where text messaging cost money, in the United States text messaging doesn't cost people money at all, usually, unless they have some really outdated plan..... currently I can text people from my regular SMS to all different platforms and I can attach video or audio clips to those text messages....... I can receive phone calls cross platform with my regular phone system I don't need an application to receive or make phone calls also I can make free Wi-Fi calls when I'm in China calling the United States. I really don't see any reason for having Google Hangouts or any other app except that maybe it ties in more of your social circle into a convenient spot but unless you have 50 or 60 friends or associates you really don't need a nap at all. As you can guess by now I am NOT a Facebook user it seems pathetic to me that people want to know all the mundane crap that people are going through at their lives complaining about their kids etc what a waste of time it's great for people who are bored or have OCD or a DD where they feel the need that they have to tell everybody their thoughts every 2 or 3 seconds... now if I was a member of an organization that constantly had to be in contact with each other maybe something like Google Hangouts would be pretty good but right now I am NOT.