Google may soon kill Google Voice and fold it into Hangouts

Google may soon kill Google Voice and fold it into Hangouts
Google Voice has always been an oddity of an app. Diehard users love it, and often complain about how Google hasn't really done much to support the service (which still can't handle MMS for most users, and is limited to the U.S. only). On the other hand, many people don't know or care what Google Voice is because there is rarely any news about it. But, no news may be good news, because there is a new report that says Google Voice may soon be killed off.

It has been clear for a while now that Hangouts is seen as the unified communications platform for Google as we move forward. Hangouts has already taken over the instant messaging duties from Google Talk, the group messaging tasks from Google+ Messenger, and it has become the default SMS handler app for Android devices. Soon, Google Voice may be added to the list of services absorbed by Hangouts. 

A new report is suggesting that possibly even within the next few months, Google Voice may be killed off and its functionality could be folded into Hangouts. The interesting thing here is that this could actually mean a new feature that wasn't present in either mobile app before: VoIP calling. Google Voice is a passthrough service, meaning that Google calls the number you want and calls you and connects the two in the background. It is not a VoIP service which would simply initiate a straight call over a data connection. And, Hangouts does video or audio chat between users, but not VoIP calling. But, when combining the two services that could change, and that could even be a change that would be made available to iOS users (assuming Apple approves the update). 

The details are all very limited right now though, but it does sound like the functionality of Google Voice won't disappear, just the standalone app. Given the timeline of "the next few months", we're assuming that if this is all true, it will be part of the Google I/O announcements, and possibly even be connected to Android 4.5 KitKat, which has been rumored for announcement towards the end of June. We'll have to wait and see though. 

source: 9to5Google

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32 Comments

1. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

So Google Voice is like Magicjack?

36. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Google Voice is the old Grand Central service that Google purchased in 2007. I used the GC service much more heavily than GV version, which was watered down, but still useful.

2. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

I didn't even know there was a Google Voice!

16. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Of course.

21. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

If you have an iPhone or flip phone you wouldn't.

25. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Dear Lord, iStand corrected. We are all screwed; our lives will never be the same. I guess we can all go live vacuous lives and maybe take up bus driving.

27. Mxyzptlk unregistered

You know there's no real shame in admitting that you're wrong.

33. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Fun fact: I have an Android phone.

3. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

What is a passthrough service?

8. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Sorry, clarified that. It means that rather than placing a call directly over a data connection, Google Voice will call the number and call you, then connect those two lines seamlessly in the background.

4. true1984

Posts: 869; Member since: May 23, 2012

thats weird, i've used google voice for international calls, since my fiance lives in japan on both my phone and tablet. but it is a passthrough service as well

5. exploreh2o

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

Any word how it will impact if you have a Google #?

6. torr310

Posts: 1676; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I'd like to know it too.

11. ePoch270

Posts: 193; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Yeah.. I use that number more then I do my VZW number. I hope I don't lose that.

13. HTCOE

Posts: 650; Member since: Nov 20, 2011

Good question

22. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

My life is over, I have 5 Google Voice #'s; I would very much appreciate Michael's in depth investigation on this one!? PLEEEAAZZZZE, for the love of God?!

7. AndrewStow

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

I use that number for everything. I text and call from this app more than I do from my carrier number because it's free. I hope it's not killed off.

9. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

It seems more like the standalone app would be killed off, not so much the actual functionality of Google Voice.

10. Hammerfest

Posts: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012

Still use Google Voice and Google Talk... Hangouts is still feature incomplete

12. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

This may cause mass confusion.

14. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

No, they cannot kill off Google Voice! What phone number will I put down when a website or something asks for my number & I don't want them to have my actual number? (Websites like getting an insurance quote.)

15. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Your google voice number should remain in tact. In fact I often make phone calls via my laptop through hangouts, which gets routed through my google voice number. I would imagine they would keep things as is. Just the app which hasn't been updated in a few years will be killed off.

17. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google forcing people onto G+ yet again.

20. silver91342 unregistered

I don't understand why people have problems with this? Google provides services free of charge and don't really collect anymore information from you that FB/Whats app/Apple/MS collect from you. Why not just sign up and never post to it?

24. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Because I don't want to?

18. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Man, that will really sux. I had the service from day one.

19. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I won't miss the Google Voice app. It looks horrible and hasn't seen an update for months. Though the app can make VOIP calls, especially useful for international calls, it also uses plan minutes for that. I guess that Google didn't want to anger the carriers. However, not only can the Google Voice app make any VOIP calls without using plan minutes on iOS, so can Hangouts.

32. ronjr123

Posts: 88; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I use it for voice mail. That way I don't have to purchase the carriers visual voice mail. And they keep for ever.

34. aahmed215

Posts: 169; Member since: Jun 18, 2012

Even though updates have been slow for Google Voice, I've been using it since its first days where it was invite only. I use my Google Voice number a lot more than my actual cell number. I want to be able to keep that Google Voice number. So as long as I get to keep that number and use Hangouts, I'm fine with that.

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