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google hangouts ???s

Please bare (or is it bear?) with me. I'm not the most techno savvy person. I downloaded the google hangouts app. The goal is to call from my iPhone 6 to an old-fashioned home land line during my trip to Italy next spring. For the life of me I can't figure out how to make it work. To test it, I dial my landline but the call will not connect.
Do I need to open a google voice account? It asks me to choose a phone #, but I want to use my existing cell #. The "help" page says to click on your phone number in settings, but my phone # doesn't show. The instructions also say google voice is only available in the US so that seems pointless to use.
I haven't a clue how to get this to work or if it will work. Is anyone patient enough to explain it to me or walk me through setting it up?
I think I may just have to use the Verizon international plan because I understand it and hope not to make many calls.. This is scary because I'm better at tech stuff than my sister-in-law who's traveling with me. Thankfully we'll be on RS South of Italy tour more than we'll be traveling on our own.
Thanks!

Posted by
4686 posts

First of all, your phone needs an internet connection - either WiFi or mobile data - to make Hangouts work. So if the phone is in Airplane Mode and not connected to WiFi, that isn't going to work. (Just checking!)

Second, you don't need Google Voice or a Google Voice number to make outgoing calls with Hangouts. (I have Google Voice and there is a good reason to set it up anyway, though - see below.) However, Google may ask you to verify your existing cell number the first time. Have you done that? I've never needed to, because I use Google Voice (which already verifies that I have an existing cell number). But some people have reported the need to do this verification the first time. I think it's Google's way of making sure you already have some sort of phone service to be making calls with Hangouts.

But once you've verified that you indeed have phone service, you can make calls to landlines with Hangouts all day long. I have a spare Android phone at home without a SIM card in it - and I make calls with Hangouts using WiFi only.

Go into Hangouts, settings, and find your Google account, then make sure it isn't ask you to verify anything.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to do this on an iPhone - I've only used Hangouts on an Android.

The reason you might want Google Voice is that it lets you get INCOMING calls with Hangouts, too. (And when you dial out with Hangouts, if you have Google Voice, it will show your Google Voice phone number - instead of "Unknown Number" or whatever - in the caller ID. Maybe some people would be afraid to answer a call with "Unknown Number" thinking it's a sales call.

When you sign up for Google Voice, it gives you a new phone number (which you can not choose specifically, though you can pick from a choice of numbers they offer that are available). It doesn't change your existing phone number, but when calls come in to the new number, they forward to your original number - that is, your Verizon number, if that's what you use to set up Google Voice. Google Voice is kind of a forwarding service. I've been using my Google Voice number as my primary number for years. That makes my actual cell number irrelevant. I got a new Sprint number this year and I have no idea what it is - I've never given it to anyone, except Google. They forward call calls to my Google number to the Sprint number. When I ditch Sprint in January, I'll get a new number with someone else...and keep using my Google number the same way.

But, you don't need to use your new Google number (if you get one) at all, except with Hangouts, if you choose. Once you sign up for Google Voice (includes verifying your Verizon number one time), you can turn off this forwarding that I use, so calls won't be forwarded to your Verizon number anymore. But if you want to receive them in Hangouts, you can. (Google Voice has free voicemail too.) So you could give this new Google number to people as a contact number while traveling.

Still, you shouldn't need to set up Google Voice at all just to make outgoing calls!

Posted by
4686 posts

P.S. Don't forget, when you are in Europe, you may need to add a +1 in front of US numbers to call them from over there!! You can use Hangouts to make international calls, too, but (like Skype) they aren't free - a few cents a minutes. You can buy Google credit in $10 blocks.

Posted by
936 posts

Thanks Andrew. What I can’t find in settings is my phone #. It has my google email (which I never use) but not my phone #. I see no place to add it. Any idea?

Posted by
4686 posts

Well, you don't add your phone number in Hangouts unless they ask for it.

Did you tap on your Google email address in Hangouts settings? When I do that on my Android, I see my Google Voice phone number. You won't see that - but you may see a message about verifying your phone number. If not, what do you see there? (Wish we could share images on this forum!)

Posted by
4686 posts

You could also just go ahead and sign up for a Google Voice number in the app. It won't affect your existing phone service. But it will connect a phone number to Hangouts. At worst, Google will give you some new phone number you think you may never use. But as described above, you might like using it in Europe for people to call you and leave you messages, etc. (The "only available in the US" disclaimer is misleading; what they really mean is that only people with US phone service can sign up for it, and Google will forward calls only to US phone numbers. If you go to Europe you can certainly use Hangouts and receive Google Voice calls there with it - I do.)

Posted by
401 posts

Don't forget, when you are in Europe, you may need to add a +1 in front of US numbers to call them from over there!!

Actually, it's 001. So, for example, if one wanted to call the White House to chat it up with one of its residents, one would dial 0012024561111 rather than just 2024561111.

At least that's the way it works on my French iPhone. If you're using an American or Canadian phone with an American or Canadian SIM on an international plan, you would dial the same as if you were sitting at a coffee shop in Peoria.

Posted by
23550 posts

+1 or 001 work the same way - in a country where the code to dial internationally is 00. That's not the case everywhere though. Different countries have different outbound code, including the US and Canada.

Using the + tells the phone to make an international call using whatever is required by the country that the phone is being used from.

The 1 in this case indicates North America.

The really neat thing about putting a number in the phone in the + and country code format is that the phone not only takes care of calling internationally all by itself, that code means that even if you are calling the number from within the country it takes care of all that.

All the numbers in my iPhone and in my wife's android Moto G, and in my previous Windows Phone (what an awful bit of kit that was, but my work gave it to me) and its predecessor BlackBerry are and have been in that format and they have always worked, regardless of where I have been.

I recommend it.

Posted by
936 posts

Thanks Andrew for all your help, Bob and Nigel too. I will download Google Voice to see if I can get the Hangouts to work because it sure isn’t accepting my Verizon phone #. If all else fails, along with my geezer patience, I’ll use a Verizon International plan. Luckily I have 7 months to play with it.

Posted by
936 posts

Ahhhh, Adam. You’re reminding me that i’m getting old. In my 20’s and 30’s it was definitely “bare”.