Wouldn’t it be nice to make free calls to your home country from anywhere in the world? How great would it be if friends and family at home could call you for free while you travel? Sure you can use Skype or Viber to make internet calls, but with them everyone needs to use the same service; it won’t work well when calling a business or landline. With the method below you can call any phone number directly, be it a home phone, cell phone or app. To do it all you need is a Google Account, a phone number with your local “home” area code (only initially,) and a computer with an Internet connection.
Here’s how to do it:
Sign up for a Google Voice number in your home country before you leave.
Google will provide you a new local number called your “Google Voice Number.”
“Link” your GVoice number to an existing landline or cell number to complete the registration. Note: You can only have one GVoice number for every landline or cell phone you have.
Your new GVoice number will charge you for “international calls” made to area codes outside your designated GVoice’s area code, BUT it will consider any call to the same GVoice area code a “free call” – no matter where in the world you call from! See screenshots and captions below.
In addition to the free calls, you will have voicemail that includes a free automatic transcription service, allowing you to read your voicemail messages. You will also have the ability to send and receive texts. Another great option is to use the Hangouts app. Using it you can make internet based calls to other Hangout user AND direct to local phone numbers from your phone.
For travelers this feature gives you an amazing way to stay connected to family and friends at home while using a local number they can call for free as well!
I have been trying Google Hangouts sporadically for the last … 6 months or so. Using it once a month to handle a group chat or video chat instead of my regular Skype, phone, or webex usage. It improved tremedously each month, but since in the first few months it wouldnt evenload correctlt thta wasnt saying much. By the time it finally started loading correctly for me it was dropping calls left and right and very choppy in the UI.
All that being said, it was a great day in the video conference world today: our team at Socialize used Hangouts for a group call and it worked flawlessly! Hooray, finally a group video chat system that actually works. Of course I am holding back a little bit since most video chat services are hit or miss, but I must admit that the steady growth of improvement on Google Hangouts is nice, and if it keeps up this trajectory it will be the goto for me and my team.
Some cool features that come with GHang:
1 – You can schedule a hangout on your calendar
2 – You can video chat with multiple poeple for free
3 – It comes with the standard “effects” sweet people know and love. We had a good time using the “applause” effect for each persons update, and the “gong” effect when the meeting was over.
4 – You can screen share to the group pretty easily
5 – You can pull in your Google Drive data into the chat. Which is nice for us since we use GDrive a lot. I haven’t tried it yet, but presentations in GDrive should integrate well…