There's an update to Hangouts Dialer rolling today to make those Google VoIP calls a little more useful. The dialer's new trick is that it can handle phone call intents from the system. That makes it easier than ever to place calls through Hangouts with your Google Voice number.
In this day and age, people increasingly dial a phone number expecting to reach you, not your house. As long as land lines are tied to a traditional phone, there's no way of knowing who's going to pick that thing up when it starts ringing, and people waiting on a call have to hover in the vicinity in order to hear it go off.
With Phone 2 Go, Time Warner Cable is giving customers the tools to free themselves from these restraints.
Android users have yet another option for data-only calls and text messages today, as BitTorrent Inc. posted an alpha version of its Bleep communication client to the Play Store. Bleep is designed to be an alternative to conventional calling and texting systems like Skype or WhatsApp, and requires no central server or service. Bleep has been invite-only since July, but now it's ready to go public. Clients are also available for Windows and OS X computers.
We saw Google Voice integration go live last night, but it contained a number of issues which this update is expected to fix. Yet as exciting as this is, what's more immediately striking is the new visual redesign.
With the amount of smudging this post required, I feel like I've been working on classified documents. The new version of Hangouts plasters your email address absolutely everywhere. It's not an issue when using the app, but it does make for some rather swirly screenshots.
Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems.
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.
The low-cost Sprint MVNO FreedomPop just launched its freemium phone service last month, but now it's expanding phone selection by letting users bring their own handsets. However, that doesn't mean you can take just any Sprint device over the FreedomPop and kiss your bill goodbye – there are some restrictions.