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Hello. It’s a simple word, signifying a simple greeting, but the history behind it is anything but.

Of course, I’m not about to dive into the full etymology of the word hello, but rather explore one of its most famous uses in the past few decades—the phone call.

It’s second nature to pick up a phone call and have “hello” be the first thing that comes out of your mouth. And when you think about it, that’s a powerful word. It opens up a conversation, invites the person on the other line in, and is, essentially, universally recognized. But when it really comes down to it, all hello means is: let’s start a conversation.

How it started

Conversations have been an integral part of society, and really, human history since the very beginning. What used to be in-person visits quickly evolved into penned letters, until eventually, the telephone came around and the need to be in the vicinity diminished altogether. It was revolutionary—pick up the phone and connect almost immediately—starting a snowball that just kept on rolling until we got to the mobile phone. And with it, came another element of the conversation—the text message.

The text message came with its own limitations, however—limited characters, delayed responses, severe typos—all kinks that would eventually get ironed out as the concept became more unilaterally accepted, and heavily used. Networks became smarter, technology improved, so that carriers could start offering unlimited texts with unlimited characters. That was, in fact, part of the reason TextNow itself was founded—to avoid paying the big carriers for the simple act of connecting with others, and offer it for free instead, as it always should have been.

While the text message has innovated since its inception with added features like picture sharing, GIFs, reactions, its purpose has pretty much remained the same for the past two decades. That is, until, now.

How it’s going

It’s funny how the conversation started in-person, moved to a virtual, non-visual space, and now has come full circle back to in-person. Only virtually, through what we all know as video calling. Capitalizing on the desire to connect from different locations with an immediate response, companies like Skype and Apple revolutionized the phone call once again by introducing the capability to conduct them face-to-face. And, to be honest, not much has changed there since. But as our mission has always been to free up conversations, and allow¬†everyone to have them without limits, we thought that there was still some more work to be done. So we built our own video calling feature, that combined both the call and the text message together. Instead of searching around for the right app to install, or verifying whether you’re both on the same OS, only one of you has to have the TextNow app, tap on the video call icon in your existing conversation, and send over the invite. The other end will receive a text message with a link in it that when tapped, brings them into the video call. And that’s it. Simple. Fast. Revolutionary.

Ready to try it yourself? Download the TextNow app today.



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calling and texting