Google recently announced that the first minute of any voice call made through Hangouts shall be free in 25 countries, for the “rest of 2014.” Users will be charged regular after the first minute of the call gets over. Call where the first minute is free will carry the message ‘First Minute Free’ on the call-screen. If you are not seeing this message, then you are being charged for the first minute as well, stated Google in the Hangouts Support page.

To avail the free minute voice call in Google Hangouts, users shall have to add calling credit to their Google accounts. Only one call can be made at a time, for the free option. If you attempt to make over one call at a time, only one of the calls shall have the first minute free, while you’ll be charged for the first minute in all remaining calls. Users making large number of calls per day may not be eligible for the first-free minute option. Calls can be made on iOS and Android platforms, but users need to have a valid Google Voice account to receive calls, texts and voicemails. Hangouts may be used to call cell phones and landlines even.

These are the following 25 countries to have got the free first minute option – 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 and United States.

Last month Google integrated Google Voice into Hangouts, making it possible for users to send/receive text messages and phone calls via the Hangouts app. Phone calls using Hangouts are free for most numbers in US and Canada, and international calling rates are competitive. Hangouts supports group videoconferencing with maximum 10 users at a time, which is one of its most prominent features. Nexus 5 has Hangouts as the default SMS service. And by launching free first minute in international voice calls, Google has made sure that for the rest of 2014 people switch from Microsoft Skype and use its Hangouts application instead.