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Google restores ability to place voice calls from Hangouts

Users of the Web giant's messaging system can now place calls from Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension.

Placing phone calls on Google's Hangouts.

Google released an update Tuesday that restores the ability to place phone calls through its Hangouts messaging system.

The new functionality, which will roll out during the next couple of days, allows users of the service to place calls from Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension, holding conversations with up to 10 people at a time. Also, the Web giant announced that calls to the United States and Canada from countries where Hangouts is available are free of charge.

"This is just the beginning," Google said in a statement. "You'll start to see more Google Voice features integrated into Hangouts over time."

The update fulfills a promise the Web giant made in May when an update to the service removed the ability for users to make outbound phone calls, although users with Google Voice numbers could still receive incoming calls. Users could also make calls using Gmail's Google Talk.