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Google Hangouts Plus Voice Equals Free Second Phone Line

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

You want a business line, but there's no way in Hades that you're going to fork over wads of cash to the local phone company. And you shouldn't. We've already covered how you can have a free landline using Google Voice and an ObiHai box, and that solution carried the added benefit of allowing you to access your Google Voice texts and voicemails from your computer.

Google Voice is so vital to my everyday life that it was one of the reasons why I switched back to Android after a couple of years in Apple's ecosystem. Using an Android phone, I can make calls from my GV number and send and receive texts using the app, which equates to having two lines, one business and one personal, on a single phone. On an iPhone, texting with the app was easy, while making calls from your separate GV phone number was awkward at best.

This might help.

Wait, What is Google Voice?

If you've missed our past posts, Google Voice is a service that gives you a virtual phone number for free. With that number, you can send and receive text messages, make outgoing calls from your Gmail inbox, and have incoming calls routed to a separate phone number.

Think of it like a phone number alias (great for business), with free text messaging from any computer, tablet, or phone. Plus, if you pair it with the aforementioned ObiHai box, you basically get a free landline, sans 911 service.

iOS App Revamped

The old iOS app was perfect for texting. Incoming and outgoing texts worked exactly as you'd expect, and they'd come from your GV number instead of your true cell number.

Outgoing calls, on the other hand, weren't as smooth. You could pick contacts from the app itself, and the call would initiate from your GV number by dialing a random phone number (using your precious cell minutes). But if you tried to tap a number in an email, or from your phone's contacts list, it would call using your actual cell number.

It sounds awkward. And it really, really was.

Now, with the company's recently-updated Hangouts App for iOS, you can send and receive messages, and make free voice calls (or video calls) over your phone's data connection, all from your Google Voice number, reports Lifehacker.

On the road, this is decently handy, but frequent use will tax your data connection. On the other hand, in the office or at home, where WiFi is typically available, this is now a complete second phone line, without the previous iOS awkwardness.

What About Android?

It's an unusual move, releasing a new feature on a competing platform first, but we'd expect the features to roll out on Android when Google releases Kit-Kat, the next version of their operating system, rumored to arrive later this month.

Alas, this poor writer lacks an iPhone to test the new app. Have you tried Google Hangouts' new calling features yet? Tweet us your mini-review @FindLawLP.

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