Hey! Remember that girl you met on your out-of-the-country Spring Break adventure? Why didn’t you ever call her? Or maybe it’s your grandson you haven’t seen in months. What you would give to see and watch him grow up. Well, good thing you can make a call on Hangouts.
Maybe it’s just because you haven’t been able to find a VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that is easy to use. No one needs to feel dejected, though. Hangouts allow you to have instant messaging, video calls to Hangouts contacts, SMS and MMS, and phone calls to anyone using Google Voice. So you can call that girl for a low international rate or your grandson in the U.S. or Canada for free.
Maybe you already knew this, but you just had so many issues you gave up. I’m also going to address some common questions and problems. I’ll show you how to make a call on Hangouts for Android.
Method 1: Getting started with Hangouts
There’s no need to pay a separate bill for phone service when you can simply use your Wi-Fi or data connection. You will need the Hangouts Dialer app, but you can click on the link below to download the app from Google Play.
You will be able to send messages and make video calls to a single person or multiple people, but it is worth noting that calling is not available from certain countries, such as Mexico and Argentina. For a complete list of countries in which making calls on Hangouts is not possible yet, check out Method 6, Step 13.
1. Place a call
- You can type the person’s name or phone number to search for the person you wish to contact.
- You can also enter a phone number manually when you touch the dial pad icon located at the bottom of your screen.
- If you are in the middle of a chat session, you can switch to a voice call by touching the phone icon.
- Hangouts is not intended to be the default app for phone calls, however.
- If you are placing a call that isn’t free, ensure you have sufficient funds in your account. The method below discusses how you can add credit for calls.
2. Send an IM
- You can send an IM easily by pressing the + button, typing your message, then tapping the Send
- Add emoji, photos, stickers, and/or a location to your instant messages if your recipient is also on Hangouts.
- Even if they aren’t, you can invite them.
- Google Hangouts is even referenced as offering a superior alternative messaging app in the article below.
3. Start a group chat
- You can initiate a group chat by tapping on the Compose button located in the bottom right of the app, and then tapping on New Group.
4. Do video calls
- To conduct a video call, you’ll want to first tap on the Compose button, then select New Video Call.
- You will need at least a 3G connection or strong Wi-Fi. (Faster is better, though.)
- Up to 10 users can video conference at a time, for free. This is definitely an advantage over Skype, for which at least one member has to have a paid subscription.
- Also unlike Skype, there’s plenty of bandwidth to go around.
- Non-video users can call a conference call number to participate.
- Hangouts is now integrated with Uberconference, making your conference calls on Google Hangouts even easier.
- You can screen share!
Method 2: Making international calls
Here’s how you can make phone calls on Hangouts to almost anywhere in the world for low rates.
1. Purchase Credit
- You will need to purchase credit to be applied towards your international calls on Hangouts.
- Current rates are roughly half or even less than half of many other providers, and you won’t have to use up your cell phone minutes.
- When you are in Google Voice, look to your left and click the Add
- There are a couple of US and Canadian recipients that will cost 1 cent per minute or the listed rate.
2. Phone Number Prefix
- During international travels, it may be necessary to use the + sign along with the appropriate country code when dialing or texting.
Method 3: Getting Google Voice
You might be wondering what number will show up on the Caller ID when you use Hangouts to make a call. If you place the call with your Google Voice account, your Google Voice number will display on the Caller ID. If you don’t have a Google Voice number, the Caller ID will display the number as Unknown. To prevent the dreaded and often avoided Unknown title, get a full Google Voice account free of charge.
You will also need that Google Voice account to receive phone calls as well. Google Voice will allow you to choose your new number. The number will be yours; not your device’s. Google Voice is only available from within the US, even though you can use it to make outbound calls.
1. Go to the website
- Visit Google Voice‘s website and sign in.
2. Sign in
- Use the same Username and Password that you use for your Google Account.
3. Accept terms and conditions
- It is important to note that Google Voice is not capable of making emergency calls.
4. Choose account type
- Choose between creating a new number, or using your mobile number.
5. Enter your number
- If a new number was selected, enter the forwarding number for the device you want to ring.
- If an active mobile number was selected, enter your cell phone number to determine eligibility.
6. Verify your account
- If you created a new number, you will be given a numerical code for verification.
- Choose Call Me Now to do so, then enter your code.
- If you elected to use your existing mobile number, you will be given options according to your carrier setup, such as porting your number to Google Voice or using the Lite Version of Google Voice.
- Porting does cost money, and you will be asked to accept those terms.
- Now you will be given a code to enter when you select Call Me Now.
Confirm Your Number
- Either search for and select your new number, or pay to port your number.
- If you opt to use Google Voice Lite and you add a phone number, you will then need to activate or re-activate Google Voicemail through the Phone settings tab.
Troubleshooting communication problems
If you’re having communication problems with your device which prevents you from making a call on Google Hangouts or sending a message, check how to fix them below!
Troubleshoot problems sending or receiving texts or MMS
1. Check Connection
- Ensure that your data connection is on.
- If you are on Wi-Fi, you will need to switch. (Some carriers only use cellular data to send MMS.)
2. Check with your Carrier
- Be certain that your carrier has multimedia messaging enabled for you.
Troubleshoot problems sending or receiving instant messages
If you’re having trouble sending and receiving messages on Hangouts, here’s what you can do to fix the problem.
Clear Google Hangouts’ cache data
1. Go to Apps
- You’ll find it in “Settings.”
- Swipe over to the “All” tab.
2. Clear data
- Find the Google Hangouts app and clear the app data
- Clear Google Services Framework app data
- Clear Google Play Services app data
reboot your phone after clearing the app data of the apps above.
Troubleshoot problems with making or receiving phone calls
If you are having trouble making voice calls on Google Hangouts, here’s what to do.
How to fix call problems on Hangouts
Do the following tips if you have problems making or receiving phone calls on Google Hangout
- Check connection
- Ensure that data is turned on or that you are connected to Wi-Fi.
- Verify format
- Make sure the number you wish to call is formatted correctly.
- Check version
- Be certain you’re using the most recent version of Hangouts for Android devices.
- Sign in again
- Sign out of the app, then sign back in again.
- You can do this through “Settings.”
Also, do the following and see if you’ll still have the same problems with making and receiving calls.
- Reboot your device
- Rebooting your Android is necessary to prevent malfunctions.
- Match Accounts
- Ensure that Hangouts and Google Voice are on the same Google account.
- You need a Google Voice account to
- Clear Data
- From Settings, locate “Find Apps.”
- Select “Hangouts“, then “Storage”, and clear the cache and app data.
- Turn on Ring
- Make sure you have Ring on Incoming Calls enabled in Hangouts.
- You can get there through hangouts.google.com or through your Gmail account.
- Fresh Install
- Uninstall Hangouts, then reinstall.
- Headset Settings
- If you are using a headset with Bluetooth, be sure the “Use Bluetooth headset for audio when connected” option is selected.
- Check Country Availability
- There’s a chance that Google Hangouts isn’t available in your region. Do a quick Google search to find out.
- Ensure you are not on Mute.
Troubleshoot Hangouts Wi-Fi Problems
Here are some common problems and solutions, or realities.
Sending SMS or MMS
- Reality: SMS and MMS cannot be sent over Wi-Fi.
- You must have a mobile plan with your provider.
Sending instant messages
- Solution: Check Wi-Fi strength.
- If signal is inadequate, try turning off Wi-Fi, then turn it back on.
- Reality: If there is a switch from Wi-Fi to data connection or vice versa mid-call, there will also be a lapse in data and your call will drop.
- Pick one and turn off the other.
One area in which Hangouts has definitely not excelled in is its management of contacts. Although there are workarounds, having to copy and paste the number repeatedly is tedious. Some people have found success with ensuring contacts are added to the My Contacts category in the Contact Manager. Others swear by removing them all from that same spot. Clearly, Hangouts has more work to do when it comes to Contacts.
However, the list of things Hangouts does have going for it is substantial. Calls without a carrier? No problem if you have Wi-Fi. Free calls? You can have them in most cases. Hangouts can be synced across devices.
For a review on the Hangouts app, check out this link.
Tell me how you like Hangouts in the comments section below! If you’re still having difficulty getting the app to work properly, tell me about it!