Google Hangouts for iOS updated with free voice calling and more

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Google has posted an update for the official iOS client of its Google Hangouts platform The update, which brings the app to version 1.3, includes a handful of new features like support for animated GIFs, Google Voice and more.

But the most significant addition in version 1.3 is the ability to make phone calls. The feature, which is free for folks in the US and Canada, will allow users to call actual phone numbers using their iPhones, iPads or iPod touches…

Here’s the full change log:

– See which of your friends is using Hangouts, and who can be reached right now
– Call phone numbers from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch (free to the US and Canada) 
– Make and receive calls using your Google Voice number
– Send and receive animated GIFs that play inline
– Hangouts will temporarily turn down your music (instead of stopping it) when you receive an incoming message

The update brings Google Hangouts in line with other messaging apps like Facebook, which introduced free voice calling in its Messenger app earlier this year. Apple also recently added an audio option its FaceTime calling platform.

I don’t personally use Hangouts to talk with friends or family, but for folks that do, or at least use Google’s Voice service, this update is definitely worth checking out. You can find the latest version of Hangouts in the App Store for free.