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Google Voice support on its way to Hangouts

Google has confirmed that it is working to allow outbound Google Voice calls within its new Hangouts experience on Gmail and Chrome, but at this point, the service only supports inbound calls.

At last week's Google I/O developer conference, Google unveiled a standalone version of Hangouts that combined text, photos, and live video across Android, iOS, and the PC. On Gmail, the update allowed users to ditch Gchat for the new Hangouts.

While it's a snazzy upgrade overall, switching from Gchat to Hangouts within Gmail and via the Chrome extension kills full-featured support for Google Voice, which was first added to Gmail in August 2010. The tech press noticed the problem in testing Hangouts, and Google has now confirmed it.

"Today's version of Hangouts doesn't yet support outbound calls on the web and in the Chrome extension, but we do support inbound calls to your Google Voice number," Google's Nikhyl Singhal wrote in a Google+ post. "We're working hard on supporting both, and outbound/inbound calls will soon be available. In the meantime, you can continue using Google Talk in Gmail."

Fortunately for heavy Google Voice users, there is the ability to reverse the Hangouts update and stick with Gchat for now. Click the arrow next to your Google+ photo near the chat section on Gmail and select "Revert to old chat." Gmail has supported Google+ Hangouts since July, so you can still start a video chat even without the new Hangouts upgrade.

Going forward, however, "Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice," Singhal wrote. "Making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning. Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly."

For more on the new Hangouts, check out the video above and Google's overview.