With every passing day, Google is trying to find more and more ways to become an important part of your life through its services. Now, the Internet giant looks like its getting ready to become your one-stop alternative for calling services.
Through a new update of its Hangouts messaging app for iOS, Google is allowing users to call phone numbers from iPhones, iPads and iPd Touch devices. Here's the best part, users residing in the US and Canada can call any of their friends for free in those countries. Users residing outside those two countries can use the service as well, but at a small cost.
Why has the app released on iOS first and not on Android? Simple. The update will now allow Google's Hangouts App to compete with Apple's Facetime. And what's more important is that once the calling feature makes its way to Android, the Google Hangouts app will have a cross platform advantage over Face Time. This means that irrespective of their OS, Android and iOS users will be able to make face-time style calls to each other.
Why is Google providing cross-platform capabilities to the app? Because It will allow the Hangouts app to become a universal messaging and calling service. For instance, look at WhatsApp and Balckberry's BBM. Until recently, BBM was restricted only to Blackberry users, but WhatsApp was available to everyone, thereby giving it much bigger user base of about 250 million people.
If you're using the Google Voice service, the Hangouts app will now allow you to make and receive calls. Google says that "outgoing calls will come from your Google Voice number, and incoming Voice calls can be answered from Google+ Hangouts."
What other features does the new update bring? Improved visible indicators of who is reachable right now, inline animated GIF support and a feature that pauses music when there's an incoming call.
The service is now restricted only to North America, but we expect it to hit Asia sometime later this year.