We don’t normally report on iOS news, but this one is special. Google Product Manager Kate Cushing recently announced an update to their US iOS Hangouts app. The update integrates Google Voice into Hangouts. In Australia we don’t have access to Voice, but with the anticipated major overhaul to Hangouts in Android 4.4, that could be about to change.
We previously reported that with the Android 4.4 update, Hangouts will become a unified messaging app, bringing SMS under the Hangouts umbrella. Recently leaked Nexus 5 Google Play (US) images clearly show that messages is gone, replaced with Hangouts.
Here’s what Kate Cushing posted on her official Google+ page:
- You can now make calls to phones from the iOS app, and calls to the US and Canada are free! You can dial internationally too (with super low rates), but you’ll first need some calling credit: google.com/voice/m/credit.
- If you’re a Google Voice user, you can make and receive calls from any of your iOS devices with today’s update. Outgoing calls will come from your Google Voice number, and incoming Voice calls can be answered from Google+ Hangouts.
- Incoming messages will no longer stop your music. Instead of interrupting your groove, Google+ Hangouts will now temporarily duck your music, then crank the volume back up.
- Aaand… animated GIFs will now play in-line.
As with the merging of messages into Hangouts, Google Voice will also be assimilated. What does this mean for Australians? Well, Google Vice President of Engineering, Vic Gundotra , had this to say on his own G+ page, after many Android users expressed dissatisfaction with a competing platform getting the update first:
Guys, don’t worry. We have massive investment in Android. I promise you will be happy soon.
He then further commented:
I’m a heavy Google Voice user. We have plans for Google Voice that I think are exciting. Can’t say more for now.
The recent Australian (and international) release of the Chromecast app points to an expansion of Chromecast into many more countries, with The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia as confirmed recipients of the app. With Google spreading its wings and offering more of its products outside of the US “beta” zone, we are excited to see what the new Hangouts app includes.
We are hoping that in Android 4.4, which will be announced before the end of the month, that the updated Hangouts brings total integration of all communications to Australia.
Would you like to see a global roll out of Google Voice? Or will this just be US and Canada based? Let us know in the comments!