When Google Hangouts was first announced, folks were adamant in making their voices heard about the desire for two things: SMS support and Google Voice integration. The former was addressed by Hangouts community manager Dori Storbeck, noting that the feature was Google’s most requested and that the team is definitely hard at work on bringing it to us.
As for the latter, we were left in the dark just a bit longer, but we now have our answer: Google Voice is going to be a major part of Google Hangout’s future. In fact, Googler Nikhyl Singhal said Hangouts was designed to be the future of Google Voice, and noted that the ability to place and receive calls was only the beginning of a very big thing.
It’s a refreshing declaration considering the path Google Voice was on before — seemingly nowhere, by the looks of the changelogs over the past year or so. Perhaps shifting focus to a Google Voice-induced Hangouts experience was the reasoning for such stagnant movement on the service. The exact details might not ever be known outside of Google’s walls, but the important thing is that Google Voice will live on in Hangouts when it’s all said and done.
PS: if you were wondering where Gmail’s voice calling functionality ran off to, fret not: Google says that feature will be making its way back to the service shortly.