Google Hangouts will incorporate all Google Voice features in the future


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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.

[via Google+]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This is awesome news! Been using GV for a couple years and love it. Can’t wait for the integration!! BOOM!!!!

    1. same here, I can’t wait!

    2. I think it’ll just be nice to have an updated new look to the app. I like the stock messaging app, but Voice is a bit dated.

      1. I hope Google fixes their thread issue. It’s the most dumbest design mistake ever created by man. The messages just split up by the day. That’s SO annoying. That’s actually why I don’t even use Google Voice for SMS. Because of that very reason.

    3. What’s the advantage of this integration? It sounds like it might make my life more complicated.

      1. You don’t need an app for SMS, Google+ Messages and Google Talk messages. It’s all one app.

        1. Hmmm, interesting. I can’t figure out how this is going to work, but I’m sure it will. Can’t wait!

      2. Hmm, and I won’t need an app anymore for google voice when this is finished, Whoa, that just simplified me using all these messaging apps !

  2. Thanks but no thanks Google. If you roll Voice into hangouts the way you did Talk then I’m out. One of the things I like about Android is CHOICE. I don’t want everything integrated into one place. I like everything separated with different ringtones for each application and each account under that application. If you remove my choice to use these applications and service the way I want then I’m just not going to use them. Especially when the unified messaging experience is so much slower and buggier than what I’ve got. This is certainly a case of “the devil I know”

      1. lol funny thing is if A’A’Ron read the setting for the hangout app he would realize he can still set separate notification sounds for each type of account.

        1. Actually I did notice, but they funny part is….it didn’t work. I changed the setting and now I get no notification sound.

      2. I’ll simplify:
        -It’s slow
        -It doesn’t tell me who’s online, who’s away, or who is in do not disturb mode
        -It built a most contacted list based on email which I can’t edit
        -I can’t sort or group contacts
        -I don’t like a unified inbox. I like chat, sms, email, work email, and etc to be walled off and separate.
        -I’d rather deal with old quirks I’m used to than deal with new issues

        1. Correct me if I’m wrong but my contacts that are online have a green line under the profile pic.

        2. Nobody seems to realize this–but yes it does tell you who is online/offline. Greyed out = offline.

          1. Not entirely true. I have a bunch of contacts who are not greyed but dont even have a gmail address, explain that?

        3. I agree x 1,000,000.

          The problem isn’t just online vs offline (sure they are greyed out vs full color) but where are they? Buried in a list of 1,000 contacts who may or may not even have google talk capability? Also, the away/Idle orange light was extremely helpful too.

          “Most contacted”….based on what? Email? And not even emails I’ve sent necessarily. 2 of my top 5 “most contacted” are people I never email directly, and are at best cc’d on my responses to group emails. Why are people I email considered most contacted in an app for SMS/Chat? That is asinine.

          Where do they come up with the “top 6” who get pictures? Why do they only get first names? I have 9 “Mike’s” in my contact list with no picture ID. Which “Mike” is in my top 6…..’cause I don’t F-ing know!

          I won’t “update” my talk app until google gets the contact list straightened out. If I can’t have a “favorites / buddy” list that appears at the top, or any form of customization (hiding / blocking contacts)…. then the app is useless to me.

    1. it sounds like you want application customization rather than application choice. if app choice is what you want….there are 10 bajillion apps in the Play Store. It only makes sense for Google to streamline the experience on the apps its controls. I’ve been dying for Unified Messaging and as much I hate to say this (shivers) MotoBlur did a pretty decent job of integrating email / social / SMS into one app on GB. Can’t wait to see Hangouts evolve.

      1. MotoBlur is actually a great example of how a unified inbox should work. A bunch of different services that a single app interfaces with BUT you can still use each of them separately AND each one is opted into rather than forced.

        These things are all fundamentally different forms of communication. SMS, Chat, Email, Video Call.

    2. Suit up biznitch

    3. That sounds ridiculously tedious. It makes way more sense for Google to have one unified account sign in and centralized communication center. I agree with sc0rch3d, you want customization, I think we all want that. But having a hundred different account sign-ins, passwords, and interfaces from one company, Google, doesn’t make good long term sense for survivability of any of those services.

      But lets say we have one central app that does everything Voice, Talk, and now Hangouts do but allows you to customize your ringtones, and other settings as needed. But hey! Now I only have one sign-in! One Password! One UI, and one place to go for all of it! That sounds like the best option to me.

      1. Except that it’s performance is slow, and doesn’t tell you who’s online like a regular chat application.

        Also note that I said nothing about wanting to type in a different password for each application. Unified log in is great, and something Android has been handling well for quite some time.

      2. Show me where he even implied wanting “different account sign-ins, passwords, and interfaces”, let alone “a hundred” of them…

    4. Having a bunch of different apps that do almost the same thing is a bother for most people. I know people who hate having to search through them all to find a message when they forgot where it came from. If the app has good setting options, you should still be able to set different ringtones for each type of message.

    5. I’d rather have one app that does it all. Simple is better. This is one of the things I like about android.

      1. and I’d rather have a bunch of small apps that run well and stay focused on their task. If it were really just a unified inbox then that’s all it would have to do. Keep track of the incoming messages and launch the appropriate app when interacted with. Instead it’s a bloated piece of software that runs slow with features I don’t need and lacking features I used.

        1. So um…? I just took a look at the Hangouts app. Did you even try and go through the settings? You can choose the default ringtone for each email address you have and you can choose the ringtone for video calls and hangout messages for each email. That fixes your ringtone issue.

          Clicking on settings then clicking the email gives you more settings to go to. You should really explore them and give it a try.

          It almost sounds like you’re afraid of the change. I’m sure with time everything you want will come. Though I do agree that they should have left your previous versions while making this one. So that way the change would be smooth. Hmm…

    6. Google Hangouts allows the use of multiple accounts. I have my phone contacts under one email and my Google+ under a 2nd email.

    7. +1 Agree completely, my reasons are I want to keep my business phone (Google Voice) separate from the rest of my personal Google account/services. If Google does not allow keeping them separate I’ll have to find a new service but I’d prefer not to if I can keep them separate.

  3. Sounds like Google’s finally making their VoIP move… I approve

    1. ‘Bout damn time! :)

  4. Please hurry Google. Im so embarrised I cant get MMS via GV!

    1. Be nice to have GV in the first place, whatever it might be called.

    2. Hey DavidB23 you can receive MMS via GV (essential it forwards it to your email address) you just can’t send them naively. There is the Send it Pro option explained here:

      1. To my knowledge the auto fwd to an email for received MMS’s works on Sprint only. I am on Verizon.

  5. just give me the buddy list back…

  6. SMS/MMS is something that i’m surprised they needed to get “lots of request for” to realize that it was an important feature. It and the appropriate presence mechanism are THE must important feature in any messaging system.

    1. I wish SMS and specifically MMS would go away. Chat/email apps trump paying a carrier $$$ monthly for the highest cost per size ratio of any data.

      1. Or you could use Google Voice (granted at the loss of MMS) and get free SMS messaging.

        1. google voice numbers receive MMS text messages, but the picture gets emailed to you instead of getting put through to the google voice app.

      2. the whole point of google voice sms is to NOT pay your carrier texts fee. It goes over data by default.

  7. I’ll be sticking with Skype.

  8. The change from GTalk to Hangouts actually got me to find an alternative messaging app. I used GTalk as a quick and easy alternative to text messages where I could show just the people I wanted in my contacts list. Hangouts is an arguably more powerful chat client, but my nice neat contacts list was replaced with a cluttered mess of every GMail, Skype, and phone contact I have. No thanks. I’ve moved over to What’s App and wish I’d done it sooner…

    1. I liked the UI of GTalk, but I’m in a similar boat. Need to find something that works the way I use a chat service instead of being … whatever Hangouts is trying to be.

    2. I too prefer the “smart sorting” of GTalk and quick load times, but I think what hangouts wants you to do is simply never close chats with people you talk with often, and *archive* the ones you wish to end.

      In earnest, my GTalk contact list has become quite unruly the past two years, as more an more people leave it active. This has forced me to use the “search” aspect of the buddy list, rather than looking for who is online. In our new “Always On” culture it is kinda pointless to look for whoever “is online” anyways.

  9. I use Google Voice to show my GV number when I make calls. Also, all SMS is sent with Google Voice. In my opinion, it will make more sense to integrate GV calling as a setting in the dialer, and send Messaging with Hangouts if they can actually provide complete MMS support.

    You would figure with Android being a property of Google, this would have made more sense to do this from the start.

  10. Is it too much to ask that this merger/update will not only integrate SMS/MMS with my phone’s messaging app and number with google voice and override the t-mobile (USA) block of call forwarding on some of its plans? Thus allowing me to use google voice as my voicemail service once again???? please?

  11. Google Voice began as a neat feature that became very handy at work and is now essential to me as my work line so I have extra controls of over business calls, such as setting do not disturb to route work calls directly to voicemail without any disturbance. That being said, because I use it exclusively for work, I hope you are not forced to integrate the service because I want to keep my work services and personal services united by a common Google Account but kept very much separate. I love Google, but forced condensation and consolidation of services is not always the answer. Services can be kept innovative AND separate.

  12. Good job Google makes it easier on us. If they integrate gmail app into that, it would be even sweeter.

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