Google has announced that it is integrating Google Voice with Hangouts. This means that in addition to sending messages and having video chats, you'll now also be able to make calls from within the new Hangouts app for Android, iOS, and desktop.
“We think there is an important role for voice”, said Amit Fulay, Google’s product manager of Hangouts. “We want to emphasize people. The mode you use simply depends on the urgency level”.
The integration, however, isn't consistent across all platforms, as SMS and voicemail support is not yet available on iOS. Also, not all features and settings have arrived on Hangouts; the Google Voice team says that it is currently focusing on primary functions, and plans to take on some of the edge cases later.
To enable the integration on Android, you'll first need to install the new Hangouts app (version 2.3), and then install the accompanying dialer, which not only activates the feature but also serves as a shortcut to placing voice calls. On the other hand, for iOS and desktop users, voice calls will be available the next time they open the app.
In addition to Google Voice integration and VoIP calls, the update also brings some of Google's Material Design to Hangouts, giving the app a brighter look. The new version of Google Hangouts is currently rolling, and it may take a few days to reach everyone.