How to make a phone call via GMail

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This falls under the "obvious" category (like probably most of my posts), but as I had trouble finding it before, I figured I'd share this tip. To make a phone call from GMail, with the new Hangouts features, follow these steps:

First, sign into Hangouts. I used to keep my account signed out as I used Adium for IM, but I've switched to using Hangouts for all my IM conversations now. (Note, in the screen shot below, I'm using Firefox and an older account of mine, which accounts for lack of crap in my inbox ;)

After you sign in, click the Search button:

In the popup, notice it has a phone icon there, that's your first clue. But it may not be obvious how to dial. Just enter a number.

In case you're curious, I used sophisticated NSA-level methods to obfuscate the number in the screen shot. And that's it - just click the number and it will dial. A popup window for a new Hangout will launch and that's it. Obviously you get a dial pad (I use it a lot for Adobe's phone call meeting service) and you can mute yourself as well. You may want to check the settings to ensure it picks up your mic. My laptop has a mic, but I have an external one as well, and on a recent call it was using the wrong one.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Todd Sharp posted on 8/2/2014 at 4:13 AM

You should try the hangouts extension for chrome. It's basically a standalone web app on your desktop and you can make calls from it too.

Also, in Google plus the process is about the same as you've explained here.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/2/2014 at 4:23 AM

Hmm, I thought I had that - but it's a standalone app? Got a link?

Comment 3 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/2/2014 at 4:38 AM

Did you mean this?

Because I do have it added. So what am I missing then for easier calls?

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/2/2014 at 4:38 AM

Oh... it wasn't enabled. ;) Ok... so to make a call is it the same process?

Comment 5 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/2/2014 at 4:39 AM

Yep - it is. Hmm - I wonder why I disabled this?

Comment 6 by Brian Lang posted on 8/2/2014 at 7:31 AM

I don't see the phone icon. I can see all the phone icons for a contact once I click into the Contact Info. Then there looks like a way to make a call. Wonder if it's because I'm in Canada?

Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/2/2014 at 8:29 AM

@Brian: I bet.

Comment 8 by Ty Whalin posted on 8/2/2014 at 11:23 PM

Thanks for the tip. I haven't made use of the calling feature all the way just yet. I use it for certain functions, but put about 10..00 credit on it so far. May need to check out the hangouts and the calling feature you are discussing on here. For some reason I just forward all calls to my mobile and don't use the hangouts much.

Comment 9 by Arun posted on 8/19/2014 at 8:58 PM

Ray - Thanks. Does it work outside US?

Comment 10 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/19/2014 at 9:41 PM

No idea. I'll be outside the US in a few weeks - I'll try then.