Google’s Hangouts iOS app has been updated to offer VoIP voice calls via Google Voice, a feature that’s not available on the Android Hangouts app yet.
The iOS Hangouts update brings voice call support to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. On top of that, calls made to the U.S. and Canada are free of charge, with users being able to make and receive calls by using their Google Voice number. The same Google Voice rates apply for international calls, but that requires Google Voice credit.
The Verge notes that unlike using the Google Voice app, Hangouts uses data not voice minutes, according to what a Google representative had to say:
“If I type in a number, it sends data to Google and then Google actually calls the phone number,” said Google in a statement. “This is different from what Google Voice does today (it actually dials a random number). So you’re using data, not minutes from your carrier.“
Naturally, we expect the same feature to be available on Google’s Android Hangouts app, maybe as soon as Android 4.4 KitKat is rolled out.
Recent rumors have suggested that Hangouts will soon receive SMS/MMS functionality, and we already know that KitKat will require users to select a default SMS application. Considering that Google has already updated the iOS app with voice calls support, it would make sense to see the feature come to Android users in a future update.
Commenting on the iOS update of the Hangouts application, Vic Gundotra hinted that Hangouts for Android will also be updated to make users happy:
Guys, don’t worry. We have massive investment in Android. I promise you will be happy soon. Don’t get upset because we show some love to Google users who use iOS. There are a lot of them. And they are good people :-)
We’ll be back with more news about Google’s Hangouts-related plans in the near future.