In a previous post, I had waxed poetic about the wonderfulness of Google Voice and Talkatone, which basically allowed you to make free phone calls to the United States. Unfortunately, Google had announced last year that it would be shutting down on May 15, 2014, thus making Talkatone, Oobi, and a bunch of other devices/apps that utilized Google Voice useless. The date approached and I scrambled desperately for an alternative, sifting through piles of forum posts and app reviews. Then, someone mentioned that I might be able to use it on the Hangouts app. Not one to look a free horse in the mouth, I fired up iOS store (android store has it as well) and downloaded it. Punching my information into Hangouts, I brought up the keypad, punched in my parent’s number and voila! – It worked.
So, in case you didn’t know it, you can still use your Google Voice number with – and only with, I believe – the Hangouts app. The only downside I noted was that when someone calls you, you no longer get a written transcription of their voice mail. Mebbe I need to make some adjustments to get that working….
Bottom Line: If you are from the US, make sure you set up a Google Voice account before you leave the States (you have to use a US IP address to set it up). Install Hangouts on your iOS or Android device, plug in your account email and password, and enjoy nice and clear (depending on your WiFi strength) calls to the US.