Rumors by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday March 18, 2014.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
Google Voice is used by a large number of people in the United States, but the call forwarding and texting application hasn't achieved the global success Google promised would arrive eventually when it purchased Grand Central to build Google Voice. Rumors now suggest that Google is on the path of phasing out Voice in order to deliver the same services to Google Hangouts.
9to5 Google reports that its sources say Google plans to fold Voice into Hangouts "months" from now. Under that scenario, users would still be able to place phone calls and send messages through their Voice number, but the trigger for those actions would take place in the Hangouts app. It's also expected to include VoIP calling integrated into the app for both Android and iOS.
Signs that Voice will be phased out have been seen for quite some time. The move became apparent when Google moved both Google+ Messenger and the default Messaging client into Hangouts last year. Then Google introduced placing phone calls in the Hangouts app for iOS and promised to do the same for Android at some point. The Google Voice app for iOS is terrible and has not been updated since September, which was just a bug fix update. The app remains a terrible and antiquated experience for iOS users. Meanwhile, Hangouts has received several updates, including a major revamp recently to change the interface.
Were Google to shutdown Voice, users who have ported their numbers or used Voice as their primary number would likely be able to continue to communicate with others. 9to5 Google doesn't suggest how Google would handle the call forwarding feature or number integration that Sprint customers currently use. Any potential changes are unlikely to occur for a few months, so there's plenty of time for Google to iron out these issues or change its mind and keep Hangouts and Voice as separate products. Considering Google's run of consolidation since Larry Page became CEO, the former seems the more likely occurrence.source: 9to5 Google