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Hangouts introducing free voice calling to phones in US and Canada (Update: APK!)
Early this morning (or late last night dependent on your time zone), we learned that Google was taking the first steps towards bringing Google Voice functionality over to Hangouts by allowing the merger of Google Voice text messages and voice mails into the app. At the time many wondered if the most crucial component of Google Voice – voice calling – would also be making its way to Hangouts. As it turns out, the answer is yes.
In an official blogpost, Google has revealed that you’l be able to make voice calls from Hangouts on Android, iOS and the web. This not only includes free calls to Hangouts users but also free calls to numbers in the United States and Canada, and international calls at really low rates. In fact, according to TechCrunch, the rates have been cut in half (as low as $.01 cent in some countries). It’s also important to note that even if you don’t have a Google Voice number, you’ll be able to make calls to actual phones.
For those coming from Google Voice? You’ll be able to use your Voice number, make calls, send text messages and get voicemail transcriptions. Google still hasn’t implemented all the controls and features from Voice, instead opting to focus on “primary functions” first.
Google notes that in order to take advantage of these new voice faetures, you’ll need a new version of Hangouts (v2.3) that will start rolling out in the next few days, so hopefully we’ll have an APK to post shortly. Additionally, making calls will require the new Hangouts Dialer as well, which you can grab now from Google Play.