Google Brings Free Voice Calls to Hangouts on Android, New Hangouts Dialer App

Last night, we were prompted to merge Google Voice with Hangouts, which we assumed meant that the day of Hangouts becoming the app we always wanted, was here. Google confirmed as much this morning, announcing that free voice calls are now a part of Hangouts on Android, the web, and iOS. They also introduced a new dialer application for Hangouts that should aid in the call making process.

Hangouts calls are free when you call other Hangouts users and when you call to the US or Canada. International rates are also low, just like they have been in Google Voice.

The update for Hangouts will start arriving today (.apk below). The new Hangouts Dialer is already available for download through Google Play, linked below.  (more…)

Did the Merging of Google Voice and Hangouts on Android Just Begin?

Tough to tell exactly what’s going on at this specific moment in time, but a number of our readers (me included), are seeing a “Migrate Google Voice to Hangouts” message in Hangouts on Android. The box is a familiar prompt that was discovered as a debugging option a couple of months back, but at the time, it didn’t work. Tonight, it appears to be semi-working.  (more…)

Monday Poll: Text Message or Instant Messaging App?

Two years ago, when we asked readers which mode of communication they used the most – traditional text messaging vs. instant messaging – I was shocked to see that the majority of users were still predominantly using old school text messaging. There are so many good instant messaging services out there that are not only free, but that offer tremendous benefits over text messaging. For example, they don’t compress and shrink the hell out of the photos you send or receive. They also let you participate in legitimate group conversations, share information in real time, etc. But for some reason, in 2012, people were still defaulting back to standard text messaging.

So now that we are over half-way through 2014, it’s time to see where we stand. Are you still sending old school text messages or are you sending instant messages?

Text Message or Instant Messaging Service?

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YouTube, Android Device Manager, and Google+ Receive Minor Updates

Over the last couple of days, Google issued updates to YouTube, Android Device Manager, and Google+. In tow with the new versions are little more than minor usability improvements and minor stylistic enhancements. Complete design transformations are probably a ways off – closer to Android L’s finalization, most likely – and there aren’t any overt signs that certain highly anticipated features are nearing the implementation stage. Still, we’ll take what we can get. (more…)

Google Buys Messaging Client Emu, Hopefully to Make Hangouts Better

Emu, a messaging client on iOS, announced today that Google has acquired it. The company, which is led by ex-Google, Apple (Siri team), and Yahoo employees, pushed their app out of beta earlier in the year. However, as of August 25, it will cease to function, meaning users will no longer be able to send, receive, or download messages.

Why buy Emu, you ask? Well, Emu actually looks like a pretty solid messaging app that could bring great improvements to Hangouts, which is sorely lacking in features.  (more…)

Hangouts is Now an Option for Making Calls on Google Voice

Google Voice and Hangouts will be merged at some point in the future, at least that is what Google keeps telling us. Google announced back at last year’s I/O conference, again in October, and then again in March that Hangouts is the “future” of Voice, only they forgot to give us another update at this year’s I/O conference. So yes, we are more than a year into this supposed merger of Hangouts and Voice, yet the mystery surrounding the timing of that action is thicker than ever.

Thankfully, we know that at least Google’s Alex Wiesen has not stopped working on Google Voice. He told us back in June that Google is working to improve voicemail transcriptions with your help, and has followed that up with the unveiling of Hangouts calls through the web version of Google Voice. Mentioned on his G+ page last night, Weisen noted that when placing a call through the web version of Voice, you now have the option to call through Hangouts instead of through your phone or “Google Talk.” If you aren’t a G+ user, you can still use the Hangouts option as it doesn’t require a G+ account.  (more…)

Hangouts Debug Activates “Migrate” to Google Voice Menu, Doesn’t Work

What happens when you root your phone and tell it to “DebugAllTheThings?” You find interesting debugging menus in apps like Google Hangouts that activate never-before-seen pop-ups that mention things like migrating to Google Voice, so that you can receive voicemails in Hangouts. Wait, that feature isn’t live yet, is it? No it isn’t. It still doesn’t appear to be live either, even if you debugged all the things to find this hidden gem.  (more…)