Google is about ready to scrap Google Voice and make Hangouts its sole communication hub, according to a recent report.
Currently, Google Hangouts handles all your messaging needs, including group conversations, SMS, and MMS, as well as video calls. Google Voice is the company’s ageing communication service that allows VoIP calls between computers and, in the US, phones.
According to 9to5google, these two services will merge under the Hangouts banner. The result would be a single powerful communications app with the ability to make VoIP calls, FaceTime-style, for both Android and iOS (though we’ll be interested to see what Apple says about that).
Full Google Voice users are given their own Google phone number, so presumably these would be brought with them into Hangouts.
There have been clear signs that Google is consolidating its communication products under the Hangouts flag. Both Google Messenger and Google Talk were pulled into the Hangouts service following the latter’s announcement last May.
Indeed, at around the time of that announcement, Google explicitly stated such intentions. “Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning,” said Google product manager Nikhyl Singhal. “Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly.”
It seems as if that time is upon us, with the above report claiming that the complete shuttering of Google Voice after five years is mere “months out.” This would point to a possible Google I/O announcement towards the end of June.
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