Pros / Advantages
Google Hangouts can be used by Canadians and Americans to make free phone calls via WiFi to landlines and smartphones in those countries. In other words, there are no long distance calling fees. In addition, users can connect with fellow Google Hangout members through video, etc. Furthermore, certain individuals I referred to the service have noted that the free calling works when travelling abroad (e.g., Europe, Asia), in the sense that they can make free phone calls to Canada and the USA. The clarify of the calls has always been great, and the service has proven stable and reliable. I should add that the service can be used directly via their website, although I have not personally utilized this option.
Cons / Disadvantages
There is no phone number provided by the service that can be used by landline users to establish contact and to also leave a voicemail (see Fongo). Furthermore, the caller id is listed as ‘unknown name’, although in certain instances that may be an advantage.
Brief Google Hangouts Tutorial & Instructions
A brief tutorial and instructions on how to use Google Hangouts. The following screenshots were obtained using Apple’s iPad, after downloading the app from the App Store. Android users would acquire the program from Google’s Play Store.
- Click on the phone icon identified by the red arrow.
- Next, click on the phone pad highlighted in green and indicated by the red arrow.
- As viewed in the screenshot below one can proceed to enter a number and click the green phone icon once completed.
The alternate (or concurrent) internet calling programs described here are Fongo and Skype. Frequently asked questions are described in this section of the site, and the comments section is available too.