With services like Skype, Hangouts, and even Duo, people can easily communicate with each other all across the world without the expensive fees that internationally calling can easily incur. Still, if you have the need to contact people with plain old phones, Verizon is making it slightly easier to do so.
Most people have been tethered to a single phone number across the span of years and multiple carriers. Maybe you don't want to give that number out to both friends and business acquaintances, though. Flyp is a new app that lets you use multiple numbers on your phone, each of which can be assigned a different purpose.
You know the WhatsApp calling feature that has been rumored for almost a year and supposed to roll out by the end of 2014? Well, it seems to be here, a few months late, and with a major caveat for now.
Reddit user pradnesh07 has come across the feature by receiving a WhatsApp call from a friend. That's how the option is presumably activated for each user, in an invite-like system where you have to get called by someone who already has it enabled. Here is the app's updated UI and how the calling interface is supposed to look.
Pradnesh07 went on to call a few users too, trying to trigger a cascade of invites from his device.
Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.
The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing. With the release of version 2.5, that apparently changed. You can now listen to voicemail with the screen dark or while using another app entirely, leaving the message to play in the background.
Google Voice is a great service for replacing your carrier's voicemail and texting options. If you need something that's a bit more robust, however, SendHub has launched on Android and allows business-class users to set up a phone number (or set of numbers) and get texting and calling for free or cheap, depending on what class of service you need.
Free users can get 60 voice minutes, 500 messages, and 3 groups of 50 contacts for their first line. That probably won't be enough to convince the average user to ditch their current phone number, but for a new business line (or a throwaway), it can be great.
Well, it's a start. While the Skype app for Android still has a bizarre and uncomfortable habit of forcing landscape mode, today's update at least allows users to use the portrait orientation if they're making a call. That's nice. Especially since the positioning of front-facing cameras on devices like the Nexus 7 make landscape video chats extremely awkward. Now if only we could get this for the rest of the interface, that would be great.
This isn't just for phones anymore!
Additionally, today's update brings a few bug fixes and support for Portuguese, Norwegian and English of the UK variety. Not a bad update.
Alright, Google. It's time to stop leaving your VoIP service to languish on the vine. Facebook has released a double-whammy of big news bits. For starters, today the social network is rolling out an update to its Messenger app that will allow users to send each other short, recorded audio clips. It's voicemail for the 21st century, if such a thing can even exist without being horrible. And, really, this sounds like it's not.
Perhaps more interestingly, though, is that Facebook is also testing free VoIP calling in Canada right now. This is a huge deal, as it competes directly with Google Talk.
If you use Google Voice, or simply make the occasional outgoing call via Gmail, Google's got some great news for you. The service is going to continue to be free throughout 2013 for users in the U.S. and Canada! International callers will still have the same rates applied. In short, nothing is really changing, and that's a good thing.
When Google first introduced the ability to make phone calls in Gmail, it said the service would be free through at least the end of 2010. At which point, that promise was extended to the end of 2011. Then 2012. And as of today, free Google Voice calling lives to die another day.
ÜberConference, simply put, is a service that makes conference calls better. It adds not only a visual element to the call, but an extra dimension of functionality, allowing users to record, mute, have private conversations with, and even research call participants, all while keeping track of various in-call statistics. After taking a look at the service, it isn't hard to see why it won TechCrunch Disrupt NYC in 2012.
Until now, the service was limited to desktop users. With today's introduction of an Android client to the Play Store, however, mobile users can start sophisticated, productive conference calls in seconds and enjoy everything Über has to offer.
Bobsled users can now connect with friends from their Android-powered tablets, thanks to Vivox and T-Mobile. For the uninitiate, Bobsled is a service developed by T-Mobile (in collaboration with Vivox) which aims to let users connect to their friends via internet calling or messaging for free.
Bobsled's app allows users to log into Facebook and connect with anyone from their friends list at the touch of a button, allowing for chat, voice messaging, and calls to land lines or mobile phones in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico. Currently land line/mobile calls are limited to 75 minutes per call, but the service itself is certainly handy, especially considering Bobsled-to-Bobsled calls feature high-definition audio.