Google has been dabbling in the realm of Internet-based calling for years. First it was Gmail, then Hangouts got in on the action. While there were ways (and even third-party products) to use the Google Voice service for VoIP, it was probably the least enjoyable calling experience we've seen that didn't involve MacGyver-style shorting of exposed wires to dial a number. Now an update to the Google Voice app reveals that it's finally going to make its VoIP capabilities an official feature, and it'll be usable directly from your phone without any hacky workarounds.
Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.
Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number.
Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.
There's another version of the Google app floating around in the wild, and as we've probably become accustomed, it doesn't appear to make any notable changes upon installation. However, there are some interesting elements floating around in the apk. In this update, we can see the first signs of support for making calls with Google Home and a new action that allows users to manually reroute voice commands to the device in their hand. There's also a new feature that looks at your notifications in an effort to give easier access and suggests about your contacts and messages.
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.