Hey Google. You know what I want the future of Google Voice to be? Google Voice, not Hangouts. I don't get your obsession with Hangouts. I get it. You've got cool technology that allows people to talk face-to-face. That's nice. But I've been a happy Google Voice user, with my number ported to Google Voice and sending my voice calls to the phones of my choice. I don't want that going away, because you've got some weird compulsion to make everything Hangouts. Maybe you could perhaps explain a bit more clearly what on earth you mean, or what +Nikhyl Singhal said last month, about this whole future of Google Voice = Hangouts thing is.
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Google has really taken to Facebook's "Move fast and break things" mantra of late, except for the move fast part.

I exported/ merged/ reimported my contacts the other day. When I reassigned my family members to a Family group in Contacts, I expected to go into Google Voice settings and (as it was before) set it so they bypassed my call screening.

Only, there wasn't one Family group - there were two. And a co-workers, and some other group I forget. Apparently, these non-deletable groups still exist, but can only be seen by the old Contacts UI (still accessible via tiny link at the bottom). It wasn't a huge inconvenience, but seeing two Family groups in the Google Voice settings, without knowing which one had contacts in it, was frustrating.

Separate, but related, Google Hangouts feel like trying to mimics Facebook's chat buddy list, which NO ONE that I know likes. No one. No one. This radical notion of "people who are online show up, people who are offline do not" seems to have been lost inside the bubble.

I reverted Gmail back to the old chat. But when I happen to see my Hangouts buddy list, the 6 called out contacts? Half of them are offline, two of them I've NEVER chatted with - ever. One of them doesn't even have a profile picture. It's just a mess, and I think it's over Facebook envy.
 
I had Voice when I was with Sprint (that Sprint/GV integration), but since moving to TMobile I can't port my number to Google Voice now. Loved GV, especially reading texts anywhere I get wifi (I work in schools that often have very poor cell reception so texts and calls don't come through, but wifi coverage would keep me connected) and search across texts. I do like having MMS again, though, but would probably give that up if I could get my number ported to Google Voice. I've gotta figure MMS will come to voice eventually, especially now under Hangouts.
 
Oh, I get it. It can best be summed up thusly:
"Microsoft calls them 'Skype calls'. We're calling them 'Hangouts'."
 
I've said it before and will say it again... I think the goal is to fully integrate Google Voice into hangouts, then bake hangouts into android in a very meaningful way. I think this will eliminate the need to be on Sprint in order to get Google voice integration and will enable video hangouts straight from a phone call ala facetime. I can also see them going for integrated voice calls over data baked into android. Thus all you would need is an android phone, a data only plan, and a hangouts/Google voice number.
 
+Robert Michael Stewart that's not the important part.  I think the main takeaway is not that Hangouts is the future of Google Voice, but that Hangouts/Google Voice is (hopefully for us Google Voice users) the future of +Android .
 
I would assume that at some point, someone calling into your GV number could be answered via the Hangout app the same way iMessage can take an incoming SMS and gateway it into the iMessage app.
 
I love all things Google.  But I find Hangouts a fail on many levels.  Since it is pop-out based it's confusing as heck.  Used to use Google video chat with my family all the time.  Now have to use Skype coz it doesn't ring or they can't find the window, etc.  I'm quite disappointed with it and have been for ages.
 
I think the long term goal is to make phone numbers obsolete. That's a good thing.
 
My son and I use Hangouts all the time, but it never fails to cut out on us. We end up having to reconnect several times in an hour conversation. My biggest complaint about voice is that I had to use my sprint # when it integrated instead of my original GV #. I liked it better when it wasn't one in the same. 
 
You most be kidding!! I have my family spread all over and the hang out is the most amazing thing to  share and bond. I miss them a lot and to see their faces, their smiles, is amazing,  I can take instant pics of the moment and the Google effects is fantastic for the toddlers. We have dinner together and we play with sounds and funny costumes while eating and seeing each other. I am really sad about your comment, because I have meet people, work with a team, and made friends from all over the world thanks to the Google Hangouts!! I really love them. :D
 
I really just want mms to finally be a feature of Google Voice. I love Google Hangouts and use them weekly. But I have used GV for nearly 4 years, daily. 
 
+Michael Lavi I've had a similar thought for quite a while. I've always had the notion Google would probably turn Google Voice into a fully functional VVoIP (Voice/Video) service.
 
100% agree... I want that answered... Their statement sent chills down my spine
 
+Ray Cromwell I've been able to do just that since the new hangouts was rolled out a couple months back. When logged into my hangouts chrome extension when someone calls my gv number it rings as a hangout first and then to my phone.
 
+Robert Michael Stewart the difference, though, between Skype and Hangouts, is that Hangouts are much better at self-repairing when people lose the connection.  Particularly when there are several people on the call.

Can't count the number of times the entire conference call had to stop and wait while the organizer tried to call the person that dropped out back.  Now, with Hangouts, they just organically reappear when their connection is good again.

And +Jordi Posthumus I hear your pain.  It's a real challenge walking people through the steps required to get a call going.  The advantages that Skype have at this point are:
1. Ubiquity.  Many people online have installed Skype and got an account by now.
2. It's a Dedicated application. It's easy to open Skype and make or receive a call, because it's designed to do only that (primarily). now, using chat features is another story....
 
I don't understand why people are concerned. It seems pretty clear that they mean they'll support audio-only versions of what were previous video-chats, either one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many. Just the same as normal phone calls and conference calls. That they need to work with one end of the connection possibly being outside Google's network, i.e. an actual phone somewhere instead of the Hangouts app, means it's more complicated than something like video chat which is entirely within their ecosystem.

In a similar manner, they're almost certain to mean that they need to integrate SMS in a seamless way, again needing to incorporate a bridge to outside-of-Google technology.

MMS might be a little stranger than the rest, I'd imagine. You can already share pictures with people via the app, but what happens when someone from their old flip phone who doesn't even have a google account tries to send a picture to you? Google could presumably store it and display it, but should it count against the recipient's data quota, and so on?
Greg M
 
+Danny Sullivan Think Google is never satisfied that something is working as it should and always has to tinker with things. They then stand back and see if people complain like heck or not. All that process does is piss people off resulting in people becoming disenchanted with Google. Since Google Voice is US only, I do not depend upon it as much being in Canada here. It is nice though to make out bound calls if need be.
 
+Tollie Williams thanks for the heads up on the link to the old Contacts... The new google contacts is such a wreck 
 
Google's vision is to eliminate voice calling all together. It is not about how well it integrates with phone calls, it's about how well you can communicate over the Internet. True, people still use phones (for calls) every day, but they also use Word, Windows OS, and other ideas that are going flying out the window.


 
You can still manage Google Voice settings from the web. And now you're able to place calls through hangouts. This isn't new (at least for me) and I find it very useful.
 
i feel like its as though they drastically updated voice and renamed it. i never really used google voice but i have an unlimited data plan so i just use my phones stock phone
 
Is Google Voice part of the Government Ear program? ;-)  Just kidding.
 
I too really like Google Voice and have my Corporate Cell Ported to it. Not running out of memory and being able to transparently have a record of missed calls & push messaging via SMS is a blessing, has saved me when people said, "I called", but they didn't & I could prove it.
Having a 12 year daughter I see the "Hangouts" aimed at a younger Demographic Group, as the love group chats, years from now that could easily become the norm as they enter the job market, have something the are familiar with & comfortable. I think it is just one more way for Google to stay ahead of the curve, knowing it will gain traction as times change.
Respect,
+Bill Hubbell 
 
+Bill Hubbell I think grownups love group chats, too. They just call them conference calls and webcasts. :-)
 
+Ralf Haring 
Very true. I was merely speaking in 1st person of what I have seen. I would take Google Voice over Hangouts; however my daughter is the opposite. With a background in Market Research I am always watching the younger generations to see what is trending with them.
Respect,
+Bill Hubbell  
 
As long as +Google doesn't drop any existing Google Voice functionality when porting over to Hangouts, I really couldn't care less what it's called or how it's branded...
 
hahaha because he likes his comments hahaha :D
I assumed  hahaha  :D
 
+Christopher Parker I hear you! Couldn't agree more. I love Google Voice, but I do understand their need to pull things together and do some unification. I hope that I don't loose my ability to integrate with my #asterisk   VoIP server. It would be cool if they actually opened Hangouts up, so that video calls could be integrated with #asterisk  as well. I don't know that the current API or underlying transports would support it.
 
I can't help but think that GV is dead since they didn't mention a peep about Hangouts at Google IO. I've been a diehard GV fan for years even with the MMS blackhole. Google is just letting this corpse fester until even the diehards jump ship in disgust before they bury it.
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