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Google is Killing Google Voice, Integrating Features into Hangouts

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Google is rumored to kill Google Voice and integrate its features into Hangouts, its cross ? platform communication app. The plan is possibly in time for the Google I/O, according to 9to5Google. The Hangouts app not only offers voice calling, but also SMS integration on Android to send texts to phone numbers. Both of these features can be found on Google Voice.

Not a Big Surprise

The search engine giant has been working hard on attracting more people to Hangouts. This is why rumors in killing Google Voice was not a big surprise. Google?s plan makes sense since there is already an overlap of functionality. The company has also been gradually transforming Hangouts from being a straightforward Web ? based video chat into a multi ? platform chat client that supports video and audio calls, text, and rich media. In Android KitKat 4.4, you will notice that Hangouts replaced the native Android messaging app and killed both Talk and Messenger.

Unfinished Business

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Google Voice was straight ? up awesome when it was launched in 2009. It reinvented the basic systems of telephony with its fantastic features and most of them still kick ass until today. Unfortunately, Voice failed to live up to its potential. Google has been working on features like MMS support for years without presenting a solution. Voice mobile apps have been slow on updates. Its Web interface is awkward, wonky and sometimes does not work.

VoIP Calls for Free

The 9to5Google report claims that it is possible that the Hangouts app will integrate the phone call feature using VoIP connection for free. The same feature is also present in Gmail on the Web. Carriers would likely oppose on the integration of this feature since it will bypass their own voice ? service offering. If it pushes through, this step could pave way for Android devices to operate as phones with data plans.

We should also consider the rarity of use on voice communications lately. This is because many people are turning to sending texts and only switching to a voice communication medium if the former becomes insufficient. Apple has also been working on a model that houses most of its native telephony features, such as FaceTime and iMessage. This makes Google?s plan to kill Voice not so surprising.

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