Whether it’s expanding the scope of its service or simply trying to advertise the existence of that option, Google is doing a promo for the voice call feature of Hangouts. Users can get their first minute of a call to any of 25 allowed countries for free. But before you jump the gun on this offering, carefully read the fine print first, as things aren’t as rosy as they seem.

Hangouts has long been poised to eventually deprecated Google Voice, and that largely happened last month when Google rolled out the feature via the new Hangouts Dialer extension app. Although most, not all, calls to the US and Canada are free, many require a fee, usually 1 cent per minute after the first minute. Now you can have at most a minute of free call, but, of course, there are limits, aside from time. Only 25 countries participate in this deal, which are:

• Australia
• Belgium
• Brazil
• Canada
• China
• Dominican Republic
• France
• Germany
• India
• Indonesia
• Ireland
• Italy
• Japan
• Mexico
• Netherlands
• Norway
• Peru
• Poland
• Russia
• South Korea
• Spain
• Sweden
• Switzerland
• United Kingdom
• United States

There are other caveats as well. First, you need to have some calling credits on your Google Account, which might be a good idea since only the first minute of the call, which will be indicated by a “First minute free” sign on the call screen, is free and succeeding minutes will be charged accordingly. Second, regular data charges still apply, so it might be a better idea to do this over WiFi. And, of course, you need to have the Hangouts Dialer app installed and enabled to even make voice calls via Hangouts.


And if you’re planning to just make multiple short one-minute calls, better think again. Google says to only make one call at a time, otherwise only one of those would be getting the first minute free. And if the system notices that you’re trying to game it, it might also revoke the free minute for subsequent calls as well.

SOURCE: Google