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It's no secret Google is pulling the plug on Hangouts, and even though its death has been chaotic, the service has been replaced by other ones to chat and place video calls. Unfortunately, few people know Hangouts also offered a dialer app, which allowed users to place calls for free in North America, as well anywhere in the world for relatively cheap fees. The software is also being phased out, and doesn't really come with an actual replacement. Sure, most people in US would have already switched to Google Voice for this purpose, but what about the ones in other countries?
Here's a selection of apps that can help you place calls now that Hangouts Dialer is going away. Depending on your needs, some of them offer the option to get a virtual number, which can be handy if you're selling stuff online or want to turn your tablet into an actual phone. Also, based on how often you call abroad, some of the below services offer unlimited plans, which can be cheaper than pay per minute rates.
Vyke: Second Phone Number/2nd Line – Call & Text
I remember using Vyke for the first time about 10 years ago, and loving the service's ease of use and reliability. Unlike some other apps listed below, it's not free, but remains very affordable. This means it's also ad-free, and lets you pick the service relevant to you, depending on whether you're just looking at placing calls, or getting a virtual number with SMS support.
Rebtel: Cheap International Calls
Hangouts Dialer offered free calls to North American numbers, which Rebtel also does, as well as the ability to purchase unlimited plans to other countries. The app can also place calls without an Internet connection, making sure you can still call abroad using the traditional phone network, despite incurring no extra charges for you. I've also appreciated the app's simplicity and clean interface, which makes it easy to find your way around without being bombarded with ads.
Text Me: Text Free, Call Free, Second Phone Number
Text Me is a good comprise, as it lets you pick between calling for free or by purchasing credits. Why would anybody pick the second option, you might ask: Well, the free version is ad-supported, meaning you can earn calling credits by watching commercials, which not everybody has the time and patience to do. Alternatively, you can switch to a paid plan starting at EUR 6.49, allowing you to remove adds entirely. Thankfully, calls and texts to the US and Canada are free. When it comes to other countries, rates are relatively affordable, or can be entirely free if you prefer to watch ads to earn credits. Text Me also offers the option to get a North American virtual number, allowing you to text and call people without using your own.
Talkatone: Free Texts, Calls & Phone Number
Talkatone is entirely free and ad-supported. It automatically assigns you a virtual number when signing up, which you'll then be able to use to text and call for free in the US and Canada. You'll have to buy credits to call other countries, though, so I would mostly recommend it for people who want to call and text North American numbers for free, as the other apps above might be more relevant for international calling.
KeepCalling - Best International Calling Rates
Just like most of the apps above, KeepCalling offers calling and texting features, with the ability to customize your caller ID — but without offering the virtual number service. In the same way as Rebtel, the app can place calls without the need for an Internet connection, which can be handy if you don't always have one handy.
There's no perfect replacement to Hangouts Dialer in this list. The most obvious one is the Google Voice app, which unfortunately isn't usable for non-US accounts. The above services are worth considering, but you'll have to pick the right one for you, depending on your needs, such as whether a virtual number is important to you, or if ads are going to bother you. It's also important to pay attention to the prices, as these may vary based on the destination you're calling.