5 tips for Google Voice in Hangouts on Android

Now that Google has finally rolled Voice into the existing Hangouts app, there are a few settings you may want to adjust for a better calling and texting experience.

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Update, January 29, 2016:Added new information about the Hangouts Dialer app.

The recent integration of Google Voice into the Hangouts application lets users call phone numbers and send texts, acting a second phone line. These new features are really useful if you have a limited number of minutes or texts on your carrier plan, or if your cellular signal is less reliable than your Wi-Fi signal.

Here are five tips to help make your Google Voice in Hangouts experience more pleasant:

Note: Before you get started with the tips, make sure that the boxes next to Incoming phone calls and Messages are checked in the Settings area of the Hangouts app.

Make calls over Wi-Fi/4G/3G

Hangouts Dialer app

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If you've used the Google Voice app in the past, you may have set it to use your Voice number when making calls. These calls still used your carrier minutes, instead of your data signal. As a solution, Google created a second app that acts as a plug-in for Hangouts, called Hangouts Dialer. This app will add a dialer tab to Hangouts, allowing you to make outbound calls with your Voice number over Wi-Fi/data (VoIP). After you download the app, make sure to open it at least once to connect it to the original Hangouts app. You do not need this app to receive video calls via Hangouts.

Disable double ring

Voice settings on the Web.

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When a call is coming in, you don't need two separate notifications going off at the same time on your phone. To stop this from happening, disable call forwarding to your mobile number in your Voice account. Afterward, only the Hangouts app will ring. Here's how:

  1. Log in to Google Voice on the Web.
  2. Click the cog menu in top right-hand corner and choose Settings.
  3. In the first tab, uncheck the box next to your mobile carrier number.

Adjust notification sounds

Hangouts app notification settings.

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By default, the Hangouts app will play the same alert for instant messages, Google Voice SMS, and carrier SMS (if you are using it as your default SMS app). This may work for someone who always has a moment to check his or her phone, but if you want different notifications, you can easily change them in the Settings menu.

Instant messages

Settings > Google account name > Hangouts messages & invites > Sound

Google Voice SMS

Settings > Google account name > Google Voice SMS > Sound

Carrier SMS

Settings > SMS > Sound

Change 'send from' number

Choose an account for replying to SMS.

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If you set the Hangouts app as your default SMS client, you may want to adjust which number is being used when replying to someone. You have three options:

  1. Smart reply (uses the number that you were contacted on to reply)
  2. Google Voice
  3. Carrier

These options can be accessed through the Hangouts settings:

SMS> Send SMS from

Default dialer

Google Voice app call settings.

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If you want to use the stock dialer app on your device but have your Google Voice number appear on caller ID, keep the original Google Voice app and select the use Google Voice to make all calls in the settings.

Additionally, you can now set the Hangouts Dialer app as your default dialer, which will display your Google Voice number on Caller ID.

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