Google Voice to be integrated into Hangouts, report says


Google Voice may soon go the way of Google Reader. Tech blog 9to5Google reports that it will soon be incorporated into Google+ Hangouts.

The company's free Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service includes features such as phone calls, text messaging, voicemail and voicemail transcriptions. Launched in 2009, it grew rapidly -- averaging about 3.5 million daily users in 2013.

Currently, the web-based Hangouts allows users to make and receive calls through their Google phone number, but all the functions of Voice has not made it to Hangouts. According to the report, the ability to make VoIP calls is expected to be integrated into Hangouts mobile app, though it is unclear if or when the announcement be made will public.

In 2011, when Google launched its social network, it unveiled a Hangouts feature that allowed for group videoconferencing of up to 10 users. In addition to the new video-chat feature, it also had Google Talk and Google+ Messenger -- all which faced growing competition with other apps, such as Facebook Messenger and iMessage. In May 2013, Hangouts replaced Google Talk and Google+ Messenger on both the web and mobile devices.

A spokesperson for Google said the company has nothing to announce at this time, and that the tech giant has been open about the integration of the two products, with Google+ product manager Nikhyl Singhal hinting at the change last May.

"Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning," Singhal wrote on his Google+ page. "Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly."

The report did not specify whether Google Hangouts would incorporate all the Voice features. However, some users may not be willing to use the Hangouts service, as it has shown to be relatively unstable in recent months.

In January, Google suffered two major outages over the course of two weeks, affecting services such as Gmail, Google+ and Calendar and Documents. On Monday, Hangouts -- as well as other services -- was down. Around 3:28 p.m. on Monday, Google reported that the problems were resolved.