One of the oft-requested features of Google after making Hangouts a full-blown SMS app was to integrate the service with Google Voice. Google Voice itself was seemingly abandoned at first, though Google did drop hints that it was something they wanted to merge into Hangouts. It looks like that could finally be happening.
Folks are starting to notice prompts within the Hangout app asking if they want to merge their Google Voice and Hangouts experience. This means receiving voice messages and sending text messages through your Google Voice number is now supported from within Hangouts.
Early reports suggest there are still some kinks to be worked out. For starters, replying to text messages that come to your Google Voice number seems to be inconsistent. For some it’s working just fine, while others aren’t able to reply at all. There also doesn’t appear to be a way to specify which number you want to reply to a message with, something that would likely be crucial for folks who utilize multiple Google Voice numbers.
Logging into the Google Voice site will warn you that your messages are now being rerouted over to Hangouts, so it definitely is a change Google opted to make instead of an early mistake. We’re betting a quick update later this week will clear up any of the issues folks are experiencing, but for now we’re just happy to know that Google is finally getting a move on making this happen. If you fear that you can’t deal with the caveats mentioned above then make sure not to accept the new integration (you have an option to decline it) until we’re sure everything is peachy clean.