Google added some really interesting capabilities to the Hangouts app over the weekend. With the update, Hangout users can use the app to call any phone number within the US or Canada for free with their iPhone, iPad or even iPod Touch (and with Android devices, thanks to a previous update). They can also receive calls using their Google Voice number.
Additionally, much like Facebook Messenger, you can see which of your friends are available to take a call or have a Hangout at that moment.
If you’re listening to music when an incoming call or Hangout request comes in, the volume will automatically be lowered.
To make a call, just tap on the phone icon in the pure right and dial in whatever number you want, or tap the Phone Contacts icon to access all of your contacts already on your phone.
And if that’s not enough. Now we can send animated GIFs that will play right in the message! I know, that should have been the news that I led with, but I wanted to save the best for last.
Anyways, it’s a interesting update to Hangouts, made more interesting by the sheer numbers of users that Google is adding monthly. It is particularly useful for iPods and iPads that have no cellular service or capability, but can now be used to make calls to cell phones via Wifi. Since the other party doesn’t have to be using Hangouts (unlike Skype), this could potentially be huge.
What do you think. Will you start using Hangouts to make calls?