There’s been a lot of noise made over Google’s transition from Talk to Hangouts. Hangouts was supposed to be Google’s all-in-one communication service, but has fallen flat. It greatly improves the Talk experience across the web and mobile platforms, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Today, Google has begun chipping away at that work by adding voice calls to Hangouts, hailing the move as the beginning of the future of Google Voice.
Rolling out now, users of Hangouts in Gmail, Google+ and those using the Chrome extension will be able to hold voice calls with other users. Placing a call will be as simple as using the phone icon in your Hangouts window. Multiple users can be added to the same call, using either just voice or video. Calls to the US and Canada are free, and international calling is relatively inexpensive.
No details have been shared on when or if the Hangouts app will receive an update including voice calling, but we hope it’s right around the corner. As Google has said, this is only the beginning. By the end of the year, we’d love to see one app for messaging, sms and all of Google Voice available for every Android phone. Google is headed in that direction, it’s only a matter of time now.