Ting tip for Android: Make calls through Hangouts for free

 If you’re with a pay-for-what-you-use provider like Ting, lowering your monthly bill is easier than you think. Each week, we’ll share a simple, useful mobile trick. No fluff – just the tips.

Free outbound calls over a Wi-Fi connection

If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you don’t need to use your voice minutes to place a call to the United States or Canada.

Google Hangouts is an app for texting, calling and video chatting on your mobile device. Its latest update lets you make calls over the internet, instead of your voice network. If you’re on Wi-Fi you won’t be using your mobile data either, meaning you can talk for as long as you want at no cost whatsoever!

Keep in mind that you have to install the accompanying Hangouts Dialer extension to get the calling feature inside Hangouts. For iOS users, the Hangouts Dialer is already included in the native app.

Follow along with the GIFs below and start saving even more on your monthly bill!

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#TEAMTING – Daniel Miller

#TEAMTING is a series where we showcase some of our favorite Ting customer stories, whether from an individual, a family, a tech-head or a retiree.

Daniel studies in Albuquerque and joined Ting just over two years ago. He decided that he no longer had to put up with a contrived carrier and complicated plans.

“I pay for what I use without paying any unnecessary fees. I started using almost strictly Wi-Fi and found it to be a much better alternative to data. Saves money, battery, and when I’m out in public, I’m not constantly on my phone browsing the internet.”

Ever since he made the switch to Ting, he’s been saving an average of $80 a month on his cell phone bill.

“Thanks to referring a couple people, I haven’t had a phone bill in months. I usually spend about $17 a month, but when I was on vacation I had to use a little more data and usage than usual. My bill ended up being a little higher, but still much, much less than I would have with my old Sprint contract.”

“Personally I’m 100% happy with Ting, but I wish it was possible to bring a device over from another carrier besides Sprint.”

Good news, Daniel. Now you can!

The best ID is a web of IDs

If you want to link to a book you’ve just read, what do you use? Amazon? Sure, but suppose you don’t feel like giving them the free advertising. Maybe you use Open Library, although their book pages are a little geeky. Maybe you Google for the book and link to the publisher’s page about it. Any of these sources are better than leaving the reference unlinked, but the fact that we’re not sure what to point at is a problem.

It might seem that the solution is to have everyone link books to a single catalog of all existing books, perhaps Open Library or WorldCat.org. But there are good reasons to keep things much messier than that.

To see why, take it out of the realm of books and instead think about people. Let’s say you want to post about someone named Christina Gomez. You probably have a few options for making it clear which Christina Gomez you mean. You might link to her blog, her Twitter handle, her LinkedIn page, the bio of her on her employer’s site, the bio on the site of the choir she sings with, or her police record for the time she shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

Fortunately, there is a way to stitch all those Christina Gomez links together. In the world of the Semantic Web — the world in which Web pages yield more of their meaning to computers examining them — there’s something called a “SameAs” statement. As the name implies, saying that one link is the SameAs another means that they are both talking about the same thing in the world…the same person, book, place, etc.

SameAs statements, which are made visible to computers but hidden from human eyes, look like hacks to get over the unpleasant fact that we don’t all link to the same places. In fact, the world is better off with many ways of linking things. There’s richness in that messiness.

This may seem counter-intuitive. We’ve long assumed that if you want to disambiguate references – “Which Christina Gomez is this talking about?” – it’s best to have a single source that everyone uses, like having a single Social Security number or a single passport for any particular country. (“Wait, which US passport did I use when I left the country?” is a bad thing to mutter to a US Immigration officer.)

But the book Linked Data: Evolving the Web into a Global Data Space, by Tom Heath and Christian Bizer explains why SameAs is not a bandaid for a suboptimal situation. That “bandaid” actually provides important social functions. The book lists three.

App of the Week: Pluto TV

Pluto TV is an app (and website) that broadcasts hundreds of live TV channels, completely free. While it’s not exactly network television, you’ll find curated streams for all sorts of shows, videos and events, including news, music, children’s programming, comedy and sports.

If you’ve opted out of cable TV but still enjoy throwing something on while you make dinner, Pluto TV is perfect for the job. From documentaries you’d never find on cable TV to R Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet, Pluto TV has something for everyone.

Pluto TV is available for Android and iOS, with support for Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast as well.

Ask an Exec: When is Ting going to get more exposure?

Today’s question comes from Alyssa, who wonders if Ting is working on more advertisements to spread the word far and wide.

While we tried a few large-scale ad campaigns last year, we’re constantly testing new approaches and pursuing those that look promising.

Scroll down to hear from Ting CEO Elliot Noss about more of our upcoming plans.

#TEAMTING – Sergio Lorenzana

#TEAMTING is a series where we showcase some of our favorite Ting customer stories, whether from an individual, a family, a tech-head or a retiree.

Sergio is a student at ODU and saves around $67 a month on mobile with Ting. Sergio realized that Ting rates are a perfect match for his usage; having Wi-Fi on campus meant he didn’t need to sign up for a heavy duty plan.

“Many apps allow you to use Wi-Fi to text/call/browse the internet. When I’m connected to Wi-Fi (especially so on campus), I’m saving so much money.”

“Ting is the smart people’s choice for phone service. If you want to pay less a month for service, take a look on how you’re managing your own usage. You often think “unlimited plans” apply to you, but often you’re not even coming close to reaching the numbers to warrant having to pay an arm and a leg for that particular service.”

“When I’m outside wireless connectivity, the rates are comfortably low. I’m always surprised, even after heavy usage, how low my bill is.”

App of the Week: YouTube Kids

kidsgoYouTube Kids is the perfect app for young children looking to browse YouTube on their own terms.

It’s designed specifically for kids, complete with big buttons, age-appropriate videos and curated playlists. Tons of classic favorites including Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and National Geographic Kids are available inside the app for instant streaming at no cost!

The app’s parental controls let you set a timer to limit screen time, remove the search bar and more. While it’s password protected, it’ll currently only keep out very young children; kids older than five or six will likely be able to bypass this screen.

YouTube Kids is available for free on Android and iOS (both smartphones and tablets). Get the run-down in Kyra’s review below!

Ting tip for iOS: Make calls through Hangouts for free

 If you’re with a pay-for-what-you-use provider like Ting, lowering your monthly bill is easier than you think. Each week, we’ll share a simple, useful mobile trick. No fluff – just the tips.

Free outbound calls over a Wi-Fi connection

Google Hangouts has always been a great way to keep in touch with your friends, especially for video chatting and texting. Recently, Google has started phasing out Google Voice, its original VoIP (voice over IP) platform and integrating its features into the Hangouts app.

The latest Hangouts update allows you to place phone calls to any number in the United States and Canada over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection. If you’re on Wi-Fi, these calls will be entirely free – meaning they won’t count towards your Ting voice minutes or mobile data.

Keep in mind that if you’re not using Google Voice, your calls will show up on caller ID as a random number. Still, that’s a small price to pay for free calling! If you do have a Google Voice account, however, you can receive calls through Hangouts, text through the app and more.

So, if you’re often around Wi-Fi, why not follow along with today’s Ting tip and make the most of your mobile device (and monthly bill).

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#TEAMTING – Tyler Lloyd

#TEAMTING is a series where we showcase some of our favorite Ting customer stories, whether from an individual, a family, a tech-head or a retiree.

Tyler and his wife live in Utah and have been saving around $95 a month since switching to Ting. A little over a year ago, Tyler discovered Ting and realized his family could cut their phone bill in half just by taking some simple measures.

“I found that on my previous unlimited data plan, I just used cell data all the time but by spending a few minutes setting up Wi-Fi on phones at home and at work, we can save money without really changing habits.”

He and his wife are still your typical smartphone users; they text often, listen to podcasts, compute on-the-go and call their friends. The only difference is that they understand that leaving a major carrier doesn’t mean they’re leaving a great smartphone experience.

“Everyone hates their cell carrier, so whenever they tell me about it, I tell them about Ting and how much we love it. Saving $$$ without sacrificing much of anything.”