Google Hangouts for Android updated with Google Voice integration, free VoIP calls

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It’s finally all coming together. As many suspected would eventually happen, Google Hangouts is finally—in an update rolling out over the next few days—going to be getting integration with Google Voice. The latter service seemed to definitely be getting neglected by Google as of late, with much of the company’s focus going to its Hangouts platform. But it appears that Voice may even moreso eventually become a thing of the past because, starting today, Google is putting it straight into Hangouts as part of a new update to its apps across Android, iOS, and the web.

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Google Voice now features calling from Hangouts on the web

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We reported earlier this year that Google has plans to eventually roll Google Voice’s features into its Hangouts service and retire the former product, and we’re slowly seeing that transition play out now. Google’s Alex Weisen, who works on Google Voice, shared last night in a Google+ post that they’re making calling via Hangouts an option from the Google Voice website. Furthermore, the functionality will not require a Google+ account to work either. The option appears to be live on the Google Voice web interface now. Read more

Google Voice working to improve voicemail transcription, asking users for help

 

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With its hit or miss dependability, Google Voice’s transcription feature for voicemail can manage to make an important message read like the ramblings of a friend drunk dialing you from happy hour. Aware of this, Google is launching a new initiative to improve its service, but the search giant needs your help. Now when you log into Google Voice via the web, you’ll be asked if you wish to anonymously share your voicemail messages to help make transcription better.

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Google plans to kill Google Voice in coming months, integrate features into Hangouts

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We’ve heard that Google Voice is getting dragged to the trash can and most of its functionality will be incorporated into the G+ Hangouts apps on both Android and iOS. This has already happened to an extent with the ability to phone friends on Hangouts, but we’re hearing the full shuttering and depreciation of the app is the next step.

What’s interesting here is that VoIP-to-phones is expected to be integrated into the Hangouts iOS and Android apps so that, just like with the Web version, you could be able to actually make (and receive) VoIP calls directly from your Google phone number. Whether the carriers and Apple are okay with this isn’t certain, and the thought is that it could be enabled by carrier like Apple’s FaceTime (or could be scrapped altogether) depending on the global market and the carrier. Read more

Google brings voice back to Gmail w/ new group chat features, free calls to US & Canada from other countries

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When Google rolled out its new unified Hangouts messaging service, some users were disappointed that the new experience within Gmail removed the ability to place free calls within the US and Canada. Google previously confirmed that the feature would be returning and today it announced on its Gmail blog that it is rolling out the free calling feature to Gmail Hangouts and also adding some new features.

In addition to improvements to desktop calling, such as the ability to “add multiple phone numbers and video participants to the same call” and play sound effects, it is also making calls to the US and Canada free from any country with access to Hangouts. Read more

Google confirms voice calling will return to Gmail, says Hangouts is “the future of Google Voice”

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Some of you might have noticed that updating to Google’s new unified Hangouts chat service in Gmail meant giving up the Google Voice calling capabilities that were previously available to users in the US and Canada. We suspected Google had plans to bring the feature back and users currently have the option of reverting back to the old Gmail chat in order to access the feature. Now Google has responded to concerns by promising that “Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls” will return in a future update.

Google’s Nikhyl Singhal had this to say about Voice integration in Hangouts: Read more

Google-Dish wireless service is a go, plans for 2013 launch being hatched

Regarding the Google-Dish tie up that was reported last night, we just got word that this is really happening. While the details haven’t been finalized, Google is already deep into development on plans to roll out the service and have it live by mid-late 2013.

Google plans to make the service data-only with voice and SMS only being used as VoIP services, likely with Google Voice. Google of course already has its ISP feet on the ground with its Fiber rollout on the Stanford Campus and its just-opened Kansas City network.

Google is launching its Glass head gear next year and would benefit from total control of the network.  Without full control, Google is seeing its Voice and Wallet services being blocked by carriers, specifically AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

Dish has previously said on numerous occasions that it would like to build a wireless network with the wireless spectrum it has acquired since 2008, but the company wants a partner to help fulfill this endeavor. As the Wall Street Journal noted in its report from yesterday, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said potential partners include companies that would like to be in the industry and currently don’t have a wireless sector.

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Google+ Circles integrate with Google Voice for improved caller management

Google announced today that it is adding Google+ Circles to Google Voice.

Software Engineer Tom Ford took to the official Google Voice blog to tell users how Circles give callers more control with organizing and managing in Google Voice:

Circles give you more control over how you manage your callers; for example, calls from your “Creepers” circle can be sent straight to Voicemail, only your “College Buddies” circle will hear you rap your voicemail greeting, or you can set your “Family” circle to only ring your mobile phone.

As Ford mentioned, go to the Groups & Circles tab in Google Voice settings to customize Circles.

More information is available below.

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Google Canada hits 10-year mark: Doubles in size, looks to expand features and headcount in 2012

Google celebrated its 1oth anniversary in Canada by doubling its staff and indicating hopes to have an even larger presence in 2012.

The company currently has 300 employees in four Canadian offices, in Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa, and Montreal. Google’s global headcount was listed at 32, 353 in the third quarter of 2011.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine first moved north in 2001, and Head of Mobile Advertising Eric Morris was one of the first Google Canada employees to start work for the  North American sect.

“Canada is one of the fastest growing markets for Google and it’s one of our big bets corporately,” said Morris. “It’s a market that Google is very committed to and investing in heavily in terms of resources and growing very, very quickly.”

In 2002, according to Morris, Google projected that 70 percent of Canada’s population would be online by 2017. Canada reached 79 percent in 2010.

“In 2010, 93 percent of households with three or more people, as well as those with at least one member under the age of 18, had home Internet access,” reported a recent Canadian Internet Use Survey. “By contrast, 58 percent of one-person households had home Internet access.”

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Google Voice for Android now features group texting and offline voicemail

Google has updated Google Voice for Android to version 0.4.2 — a small update — but the app now features group texting, offline voicemail, and improved text message notifications.

Offline voicemail is definitely the big feature here, letting users listen to voicemail in spotty coverage areas. Now if there could be some improvements to the iOS app and MMS available on all carriers. Download it now!

What’s in this version:

  1. Prefetch voicemails so they can be listened to even when there is no data coverage
  2. Allow sending text messages to multiple recipients
  3. Improved text message notification
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