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Google Voice, Hangouts learn to play nice together

Users will now be able to place free calls from within Hangouts and will also see voicemail transcripts and messages from Google Voice show up in their Hangout listing.

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Google

Google Voice, the phone service that lets users place and receive calls to a dedicated number or group of existing numbers, is now playing nice with Google+ Hangouts.

When Google Voice users open up Hangouts, they'll find that their voicemail transcripts and text messages will be included next to messages they might have received in Hangouts, the search company announced Wednesday. Users will also be able to reply to text messages sent to a Google Voice account from within Hangouts.

The feature is being rolled out to Android and the Web this week. iOS support is coming soon.

Google+ Hangouts is the search giant's answer to communication services like Microsoft-owned Skype. The offering allows users to engage in group conversations via text, video, or now, phone. Hangouts is available on iOS, Android and on the Web.

That Google Voice phone dialing has been added to Hangouts seems like a natural extension of the service. Thanks to Google Voice, Hangouts users can start placing calls via the Web or their Android or iOS apps for free to any number in the US and Canada. International calls can also be placed, though rates will apply.

Though some Google Voice features are being integrated into Hangouts, for now it appears Google Voice will remain a standalone app. However, the end is near for Voice, and Hangouts will eventually swallow Google Voice whole.

Last year, Google+ product manager Nikhyl Singhal said in a post that Hangouts ultimately would be the future for all communication from Google.

"Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning," Singhal wrote. "Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly."

In an e-mailed statement to CNET on Wednesday, a Google spokesperson said the move to add Google Voice features to Hangouts "shouldn't come as a huge surprise."

"We intend to integrate users' most loved features into Hangouts moving forward," the spokesperson told CNET.

(Via Android Police)