Google Hangouts is an instant messaging and video-chatting platform developed by Google, which was launched in 2013. The advent of Google Hangouts saw three other messaging services from Google (G Talk, G+ Messenger, a video chat mechanism integrated within Google +, also named Messenger) biting the dust. The only two services remaining include Google Hangouts and Google Voice.
Now Google is planning to integrate both Hangouts & Voice to make it a single stand-alone product.
For those unfamiliar with Google's Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), it is a telecommunications service which lets the user make free phone calls, voice-mail, text messaging, call history, conference calling, and blocking calls, among the others. This service is still used by many users across the world.
In addition, text messages can be sent and received from Gmail or by adding contact's phone numbers in Google Talk which acts as a PC to Phone texting interface.
Google Hangout & Google Voice Integration - What to Expect?
When Google launched Google Plus, its social network site in 2011, the company also unveiled its Hangouts which allow video conferencing and chats. Over a period of time Hangouts added several new functionality like the file exchange, advanced text messaging and more importantly, the screen sharing functionality. In addition, Google Hangouts allow conference calls with up to ten people in one call.
However, Google Hangouts is poorly integrated with Google services. Notably, there are quite a few alternatives like Skype, Viber and even Facebook Messenger which are very popular and widely used.
Fragmentation is the problem with Google services. Hence it is only natural that, Google tries to integrate its services to give a seamless user experience in switching and navigating between different services.
According to Culture Mob, "Google insiders claim that Hangouts was designed to be Google Voice's future. They also claim that the ability to make calls through Google Voice was just the beginning. They wanted to make the application more functional, seamless and versatile."
With Google Voice (VoIP-to-phones) getting integrated with Hangouts for both iOS and Android platforms, just like the Web version, users will be able to make and receive VoIP calls directly from the Google phone number. The problem with this integration would come in the form of consensus from network carriers.
If the integration rumors were true, the VoIP mechanism would provide an option to users (willing to trust Google with their phone number) to cut down their network carrier's voice plans altogether. This is a controversial move and carriers won't be impressed with the idea, according to 9to5google.
There is no official confirmation or specific dates from Google thus far.