updated 07:59 pm EDT, Sat October 19, 2013
Google's communication platform continues integration
Google has updated the iOS version of its Google Hangouts app to include integration with its the search giant's Google Voice Internet telephone service. The new version allows users to call numbers from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch for free if the number is within the United States or Canada. Google has added this capability to the iOS version of Hangouts before the feature has even made it into the Android version.
Google Voice users can now place and receive calls from any of their iOS devices thanks to the new update. Previously, making Google Voice calls was impossible from an iPad or iPod Touch. Outgoing calls come from a user's Google Voice number, and incoming Voice calls can be answered from within Hangouts.
The update also includes changes that make new messages simply turn down music, rather than stop it. It also allows for animated GIFs to play in-line.
Speaking on the matter in a blog post, Google's Vic Gundotra assured Android fans that they "will be happy soon" with Google's changes to that app.
The development is the latest in Google's efforts to transform Hangouts into an all-purposes communication platform. Google was rumored to be working toward just such a goal earlier in the year, with the project codenamed Babel. Eventually, the Hangouts platform emerged, which combines multiple Google chatting, social networking, and videoconferencing capabilities, and the addition of Voice would appear to have completed at least an early stage of Google's efforts.