Google updates Hangouts, allowing us to make phone calls

by: Nate SwannerJuly 9, 2013


Are you one of those Google Talk users who didn’t make the switch to Hangouts in Gmail because you like making calls? Yeah, me too. I like the updated interface of Hangouts, but the inability to make calls was a Gmail deal breaker.

Google has heard our cries, and blessed Hangouts with the ability to make calls! Inside of Gmail, much like we currently can with Google Talk, Hangouts will soon give us the ability to make calls. The updated Hangouts interface is also here, and there are some fresh new tools to help usher in a new era of Hangouts phone calls.

The update is rolling out over the next few days, so keep an eye out.

First, you can add multiple numbers or video participants to a hangout. So, conference calling while doing a hangout is possible, or simply having a few people on the line to make plans. We can also use the Google Effects app to play things like laughter or applause, for those times when nobody gets your joke.

The update is rolling out over the next few days, so keep an eye out. When you get it, you’ll see a little phone icon next to the field where you type in participants for a new hangout. Click on that icon, select “Call a phone” from the drop-down menu, and you’re on your way!

This will also work in the Chrome extension for Hangouts, with “Call a phone” nestled between “Customize new request” and “Archived Hangouts” in the drop-down menu. If you have it already, please feel free to comment below and let us know how you like it compared to the Google Talk version!

Hangouts in Gmail calls

  • dogulas


  • Nick Schiwy

    That awkward moment when you try to send this article to a friend through hangouts but he can’t get it because he still uses talk >.<

    • Vikas Ghavate

      i Agree no more…

  • dogulas

    My question is: Does this use your Google Voice number or your random assigned number like gmail used to use? Because right now in order to make calls in Gmail using my GVoice number I have to begin the call request from the Google Voice extension or the web page. And it forwards it to call me in Gmail where I can pick up.

    • Aaron Ross

      I just tried ou the new Hangouts update and can confirm that the calls that you make within gmail come from your google voice number, just like before. However, if you try to use google voice to call from the or the chrome extension using “google talk,” it will no longer ring you in the gmail tab. It will, however, ring any other things that work through the Google Talk interface, such as the GrooVe IP.

      • dogulas

        Calls made directly from Google Talk in Gmail did/do not use your Google Voice number.

        Regarding calls made from not ringing Hangouts like it used to ring Talk, that’s fine, as long as the calls using Hangouts from Gmail now use the Google number instead of the random number.

        • Aaron Ross

          Ok pardon my mistake. I guess I just always started the call from within GV, where all my texts are. So I guess it’s better now? I need to test if Gmail will still ring when someone calls my number. If not, they need to fix that…

        • csharpner

          I just tried it by calling my cell phone from the GMail web interface and it did, indeed, use my GV#. It’s been doing this for well over a year for me. There’s probably a setting somewhere. Seems like I had to tinker with something like that a long long time ago.

  • najiy91

    talk is simple,nice weird.

  • James tew

    I wonder if they are going to bring “call a phone” to Australia…

  • JayX

    Once they add SMS support it will be complete

    • Tim Moller

      true… SMS added to this would be perfect

  • ash71ish

    cool. Bring it on google.

  • Bobby Bryla

    Really, I thought it was me… I switched back because no phone calls=no hanging out! Now GH is almost PERFECT again!

  • kaushik ray

    The Incompatibility between Talk and Hangouts made me uninstall updates twice…Can not Help it..!!!!

  • matt

    When is this coming into the Android hangout app?

  • Vikas Ghavate

    I loved hangout, more than talk. It has nice interface, its simple yet fast. People should consider give it a try, its worth it.

    • buba

      No, it’s not because it’s locked. Talk is/was free.
      Hangouts is a major fail!

      • Tim Moller

        Hangouts is awesome. Dont know what your doing to it that makes it so you dont like it. Seems to work for everyone else

        • AngryHumanoid

          Lack of status icons on users in the mobile app. I just want to see a list of who is available, Online, Away, Busy, etc. Basic functionality that is easily seen in the Talk app, it is simply idiotic that they would release a “full” app missing this.

          • Vikas Ghavate

            Now a days almost all people uses smartphones, hence they are online all the time. You just have to ping to get reply. Previously there were no smartphones, only computers, hence there were status icons.

      • Vikas Ghavate

        What do you mean by locked?
        Hangout is also free, its much better API and quality than talk.

  • iTriune

    Well, WHEN is it actually going to be live?

  • Gianflavio

    but most people will use it through mobile, and this calling option is only available for g+ gmail and the chrome extension. im not sure if that’s legal or not since the calls are free and it’d ruin the business for the phone companies… but it would be usefull for wifi calling and if you’re out of the country and whatnot.

    i don’t really care for this feature on mobiles however, it’s the same thing as video chatting without video.
    it’s still very buggy though, they need to fix this bug that ios users dont get notifications (i get them from my friends with icraps all the time) and the fact that i don’t get hangout requests and nobody else does.

    last but not least, add online status and sms. (AND A LIST TO SEE WHO IS USING HANGOUTS AND WHO ISN’T, THIS IS ESSENTIAL AND VERY ANNOYING THAT IT DOESN’T HAVE IT) excuse my caps.

  • Tim Moller

    Works great. I prefer to have it all in one place. Google hangouts and talk all in one place. Easy, Easy