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.
Placing a voice call over Google Hangouts is a nice way to save some money. If you and another user both rely on the service, you can start chatting with anyone regardless of where they live. But placing a call to a traditional phone number comes with a few more restrictions.
On the positive side, Google has announced that it's loosening a major one for users in India. Now residents there can place international voice calls using Hangouts.
After much wringing of hands, it looks like Google Glass is back on its update track, with a long-awaited bump to KitKat imminent. Announced in a post to Glass' Google+ page earlier, the update is a big one. Obviously the headlining feature of the update is a move to Android 4.4, but Glass will soon be able to bundle photos, videos, and vignettes from each day (to free up precious timeline space), reply with photos in Hangouts, and send feedback directly from Glass.
When it comes right down to it, there’s a pretty short list of things everybody simply expects a cell phone to be able to do well: making and receiving calls and text messages. We must be able to trust that our phones aren’t failing at the most basic types of communication. Unfortunately, some people have found that the Nexus 5 can’t always be trusted to let them know when somebody is calling or texting them.
Viber is what you get when you take a free VoIP service, create an app for it, and smother it with purple. Any two people with the app installed can communicate with one another via voice or text entirely for free. Now the team is adding in the ability to make low-cost calls to any dedicated phone number.
Users can buy credits for "Viber Out" via in-app purchases within either the mobile or desktop software.
For a smartphone operating system, Android hasn't always had the best features for, you know... calls. One of the especially annoying omissions has long been caller ID, but Android 4.4 takes a big step toward fixing that. If you get a call from a business that Google knows, it lets you know on KitKat's incoming call screen. Neat.
For the unfamiliar, Ashley Madison is a dating site that enables couples in monogamous relationships to find partners for illicit affairs. That's the baseline we're starting from. The company's new app, however, takes this concept one step further by providing users with disposable phone numbers that can be used for calling and texting without your spouse finding out.
The BlackBook app doesn't include access to the social network itself, so it's purely used for correspondence.
The incoming call screen got a big overhaul in Android 4.0 last year, but it's still not perfect. An incoming call pulls you away from what you might be doing with your phone. Writing an email? Not anymore you're not. Reading a webpage? You can reload that after the phone call. Small Call notifies you of incoming calls in an unobtrusive way while still preserving functionality.
When your phone rings, Small Call will pop up a floating bar at the bottom of your screen.
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.
For years Nuance's Dragon served as a leader in the world of voice dictation and commands. More recently, though, as Google and Apple move in on the speech control world, the company has a more pressing need than ever to distinguish itself. Enter Dragon Mobile Assistant. This app aims to "expands the natural language understanding and artificial intelligence" of Dragon Go! and "[add] the most popular personal assistant features."
At this point, most of our readers are probably aware of how voice assistants work.