Google Voice's Days May Be Numbered, Google Hangouts Set To Take Over

By Steve Anderson March 19, 2014

The stable of Google services has been somewhat on the decline lately - though really only in number, as consolidation efforts have taken some services out of the equation by putting them into others. The next target on the chopping block will be Google Voice – which will now be available in a new place.

According to recent speculations, Google Voice's functionality will be moved to G+ Hangouts for Android and iOS - a development that makes some sense given the nature of both services. While the ability to phone friends on Hangouts was already quite established, the move of Google Voice functionality is just going to bump that service up a notch. Indeed, this seems to be part of a larger overall progression, as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) calling from Hangouts is expected to be added in the not too far future so users will be able to make and receive calls from a Google phone number.

Google's consolidation of services has been going on for some time now, with Messenger and Talk both replaced—at various points—by Hangouts, and Messaging following not too far after that. So for Google Voice to get consolidated into Hangouts makes still more sense. However, this is a move that's likely to be met with at least a little controversy, as the combination of various Google services plus the Google phone number would essentially allow users to drop a carrier voice plan entirely.

Those companies will have some time to formulate a counterattack, however, as reports suggest that the move to remove Google Voice from play and replace it with G+ Hangouts functionality is still “months out.” Some to believe Google may be waiting for its Google I/O event to drop the word about this latest consolidation effort.

While such a move is certain to prove controversial—and likely defended against—by carriers, carriers may well be prepared for such a move, and potentially ready to put a similar method in place. As far back as 2012, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson was heard remarking that one day there would be no carrier with voice service at all, instead replacing it with only data networks. This makes sense for the carriers; being able to focus on one type of traffic that can do all the same things as voice and text networks can allows for better economies of scale, and allows the companies in question to only have to build out one network as opposed to several networks.

Recent talk around pCell technology from Artemis also adds particular credence to such a concept, as it allows a much wider data network to be deployed with faster speeds, making it a good choice for such a network where there is no voice service, only data.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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