Google may be looking to merge the functionality of its Google Voice product into its Hangouts service within the next few months. The functionality will be migrated into the Google+ Hangouts app on Android and iOS. To some extent, this has already happened as there is an ability to phone friends using the Google Hangouts app right now but word on the streets is full deprecation of the app is what is on the cards.
What is really interesting here is that VoIP-to-phones may then be integrated into the iOS and the Android apps so that one would actually be able to make and receive calls using what is currently your Google Voice number. Whether the carriers will be okay with this remains to be seen but in my case I’ll just buy an unlocked Nexus phone so I don’t even need to deal with carriers except on my terms. The thought may very well be that it might be a feature that would have to be enabled like Apple’s FaceTime or it could be scrapped altogether depending on the carrier or depending on the market conditions.
Google has obviously allowed Hangouts to takeover the SMS functionality of an Android phone although users still have to have an SMS plan in order for this to work. With this in mind it would not be outside the realm of possibility that the same thing may happen to the calling functionality of the phone.
This functionality should be able to see users completely drop their voice calling plans with carriers altogether and this will probably face a lot of resistance from carriers. The only reason we would need carriers at all would be for the data plans and with services like WhatsApp and Line, lining up to introduce calling features on their apps too it seems as if such a transition is inevitable.
This is still speculation and no exact dates on the migration to Hangouts has been given but the Google I/O event would be a safe bet.
What do you think of this move by Google and do you think it is positive? Please leave us a comment below and make sure to vote on our poll on which company you think will win the VoIP war.