Yesterday we saw the biggest updates that Google Hangouts has probably ever seen, maybe even bigger than the jump from Google Talk to Hangouts too. If you missed the announcement check it out here and grab the update for yourself if Google hasn't already sent it out to your automatically. This is Hangouts version 2.3, and it's so chock full of new stuff it's crazy. The biggest thing we're talking about though is the integration of Google Voice, which is something Android users have been waiting on for years, and a service many thought Google had completely forgotten. Google Voice, if you don't know, is a service where you get a personal phone number from Google and can use it like any other. The big difference is that it's attached to your Google account, not a SIM card, so you can use it in all sorts of new and interesting places. Keep in mind that this rollout hasn't completed yet, but once the app update goes officially live and the full rollout has completed, everyone will be able to do this.
Now with Hangouts integration we can work on ditching those old carrier plans with minutes and just concentrate on paying for data, something that's going to save a lot of people a lot of money. Today we're going to be covering how to get your Google Voice voicemail integrated into hangouts, which is something quite a few people have been using just for free visual voicemail, if nothing else. Once you've got the new Hangouts app installed as well as the new Hangouts Dialer, you'll hopefully be put into Google's new program where these next set of options are available. If not don't worry, you'll get there, but remember that Google loves to do staged rollouts and those take time, so it may be a week yet before you even see these options appear on your account and in apps.
Once Hangouts is open pull out the left-hand slide-out menu and click settings. Choose your Gmail account and then scroll down to the Google Voice section. Inside here there are all sorts of goodies, but we're concerned most with the "Messages – Show SMS & Voicemail in Hangouts," which is the box you're going to want to check. Thankfully it's that simple to do it, but you'll need to make sure that your Google Voice app isn't set up to do the same thing too, otherwise you'll get double notifications, and that's just plain annoying.
So jump into the Google Voice app, click the overflow button on the bottom right (or hit menu), then head on into settings. From here go to the "Sync and Notifications" section and uncheck the box for voicemail notifications. Now Google Voice won't let you know about any new voicemails, but Hangouts will. At this point it's also possible that you could uninstall Google Voice, as I've seen both apps conflict with one another now that the rollout has begun, and uninstalling Google Voice didn't seem to give me any issues in terms of missed functionality or anything like that. In our Hangouts All the Things series, we're going to be showing you how to ditch your carrier's likely ludicrously expensive talk and messaging plans for a much cheaper data plan, all using Google Voice and Hangouts as the replacement for the built-in dialer and phone system on your Android (or maybe even iOS) device. Stay peeled here as the rollout continues and we'll bring you more!