Google Home got call support last year, but although we've been able to make use of the hardware's hands-free VoIP support since then, there were a few noteworthy omissions. One of them was touch-tone number entry support for things like navigating automated menu systems. That exclusion has been fixed, as you can now tell Google to "press" numbers during calls. Read More
You might think making phone calls with Google Home would be a basic function available from launch, but you'd be wrong. VoIP calling eventually came to users in the US and Canada last August, but it's eluded other regions until now. At Google's October 4th hardware last year the UK was promised similar functionality — due to go live later in the year. It's a bit late, but UK Google Home users are finally able to make hands-free calls as of today. Read More
Country-related news for Google Home continues. Now the focus is hands-free calling on the Google Home. The UK is the latest country to get the feature, coming later this year. Read More
Amazon's Alexa assistant is currently only talking to you, but you will soon be able to have Alexa reach out and touch someone else. Amazon is adding voice calling and messaging to its Alexa devices, which will most likely be available in time for the launch of the Echo Show on June 28th. This won't be connected to your phone number—it's a completely separate way of making and accepting voice calls. Read More
Viber has been around as a VoIP solution on mobile devices for ages, but it also has a service called Viber Out that lets you call landlines. It usually costs money to do that, but not in select scenarios right now. Viber has announced that calls between landline and mobile numbers in the US and the seven countries affected by Donald Trump's controversial immigration ban will be free. Read More
Here's the news that the thousands of you who have been hovering over every update on our previous WhatsApp Calls post have been waiting for. The service's calling functionality now seems to be open, no questions asked, no invites needed, no hacks required. The only "catch" is that you seem to need version 2.12.19, which you can find hosted on APK Mirror or on WhatsApp's website.
Once you download the apk file and install it (make sure you have Unknown Sources enabled in your phone's Security Settings to be able to do so), you'll open WhatsApp and the app's UI will have switched over to the new one with the Calls functionality enabled. Read More
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. Read More
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.
While Indians can place calls to whichever countries they choose, only those placed to the US or Canada are free. Yet that alone makes the service a good option for the many people who need to stay in touch with family, friends, and co-workers in North America and the Indian subcontinent. Read More