Google+ is Breaking Out the Big Guns
Since Google+ launched Hangouts, there have been a number of features that the users have been waiting to be implemented. This week, Google+ finally paid out and added the ability to make phone calls to almost any phone number – even ones that aren’t in the Google data system and are actually phone numbers attached to actual phone lines, including cell phones, which means you can now call friends and family members on their landlines or cellulars at any time.
The only exceptions are emergency phone numbers, and even though American and Canadian numbers are free, you can call other lines for a reasonable cost per phone in the conference. Currently, however, you cannot accept incoming called to your Google+ account, and it’s desktop only and completely incompatible with Google+ mobile applications. However, these features may be announced in the future, but the cost at this time is unknown.
Placing a call is incredibly simply, and you just have to hit a single button labeled “Invite” – it’s right in Hangouts, too – and then click the “+telephone” link. After entering the number, you simply tap “add,” and the dialer will store the number in its system for later use.
This is yet another application powered by the Google Voice platform, and is one of the first steps into fully integrating many of Google’s best services into Google+ and Hangouts, but branding them all with the Google+ name instead. You can place similar call to land lines and mobile phones using Google Voice, which has been integrated into Gmail in recent times.
Calling out with Hangouts is still declared to be a ‘beta’ feature, and is still highly experimental as a feature. This is the third experimental feature Google has pulled into the Google+ branding – the first two being screen-sharing and support for Google Docs.
The next expected feature to grace Google+ has not yet been announced, but some speculation states that it may be opening up Hangout to incoming calls, too, but Google has not yet confirmed nor denied this rumor.