Google Hangouts iPhone App: Free Voice Calls and Google Voice Compatibility

Google announced a few days ago that third-party apps will no longer work with Google Voice as of May 15, 2014. I already updated my Obihai post, but this will also affect those people who make voice calls over data with GrooveIP or similar smartphone apps.

The good news is that Google has stated that it wants to fully integrate Google Voice into their own mobile apps so that you can make free voice calls and SMS over data. (Well, I’m not sure about the free part. Given how late it is in the year, I think it will stay free for another year at least.)

The Google Hangouts app for iPhone/iOS has been updated to add free voice calls over WiFi and cellular data (anywhere in the US and Canada) and Google Voice integration. I downloaded it and it worked well. Incoming calls to my Google Voice number rang directly to my phone screen. I can make outgoing calls from inside the Google Hangouts app, and the person I call sees my Google Voice number on their Caller ID. Voice quality was good, although I was on WiFi at the time. So far, SMS/MMS/voicemail are unavailable.

This makes Google Hangouts a good alternative for iPhone owners on the T-Mobile $30 a month Unlimited Data Plan or for those on minimalist pay-as-you-go plans as you can make free voice calls over WiFi. Works on iPod Touch too.

Similar functionality is supposedly coming to Android phones “early next year”. I would hope this means before May 15th.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure I see the advantage of the Hangouts app over the Google Voice app for iPhone. Everything you described is already available plus SMS/MMS/voicemail.

  2. Does this mean i have to sign up for google+ ? Ugh.

  3. Just as Maiko said, all of this is already available. Not to mention the fact, free never stays free for long. If it does stay free and the quality is good as you stated, perhaps it will prove to be a win for Google.

  4. The important difference is that Google Hangouts will use *data* for phone calls. Calling from within the Google Voice app on iOS or Android will use your cell plan voice minutes.

    https://support.google.com/voice/answer/1065736?hl=en

  5. Ah, well I guess some plans that would make sense on, but I lose more minutes that expire(rollover minutes) than I use and I use Google Voice for my business line.

  6. One thing to note is that if you like to remain Invisible in Google Talk most of the time (so you can actually get some work done!), installing this Hangout app and signing in will effectively kick you out of that mode (because Google’s philosophical stance seems to be that you can’t use Hangout while remaining invisible). You might not notice it immediately, but the warning message, ” Oops! You are not invisible because you’re logged into Google Talk from another client, device, or location that doesn’t support invisibility,” will eventually show up in Google Talk, and for me, the only way to get it to resume Invisibility was to sign out of Hangouts on my smartphone.

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