Is the end of Google Voice mere months away?
Google's Hangouts service has slowly been improving since its launch. However, to evolve, Hangouts has had to absorb some already established services (like Google Talk, or the default SMS app on Android 4.4). Now, it looks like Hangouts might subsume another Google service.
According to the latest rumors, Google will soon integrate Google's 5-year-old telecommunications service Google Voice. Hangouts users can already make calls, but they don't have access to all the functionality offered by Google Voice (the service currently allows users to call PC-to-PC, PC to phone, send texts and voicemails and also offers voicemail transcriptions). 9to5 Google writes that this could change pretty soon. Apparently, Google will fully integrate Voice into Hangouts. Google will then shutdown Google Voice completely.
Google hasn't confirmed (or denied) the report, but 9to5 Google says the announcement is 'months out.' It'll be interesting to see how users respond to the change. While turning Google Hangouts into a sort of unified communications platform certainly makes sense for Google, not all users will be happy to have everything crammed into one service. Sure, it's more streamlined, but it also forces users to use the full suite as opposed to the specific service they want.