Google Hangouts has become a pretty versatile communications tool since its introduction last year, allowing instant messaging, picture sharing, video and voice chat.
Now, according to reports, the web and mobile giant is about to add the final piece of the puzzle, by totally integrating it’s Google Voice service, which allows free domestic and cheap international VoIP calls using a Google Voice number.
9to5Google claims the existing Voice app, which hasn’t gravitated beyond the U.S. will be "dragged to the trash" with the functionality consolidated into to Hangouts, making that a one stop shop for all communications needs.
To a certain extent, this functionality already exists within the iOS app, but strangely not the Android version of Google Hangouts.
Hang on a minute…
Any Google Voice integration would make Hangouts much more of a Skype competitor than it currently is, but whether mobile carriers would be too thrilled remains to be seen.
Some networks choose to restrict VoIP services over mobile data, something both Apple has experienced with FaceTime video and voice calls.
The original report doesn’t reference a timeline for the change, but it stands to reason that this summer’s Google I/O conference may be as good a time as any.
So far, the sentiment from Google fans seems to be: "Just as long as I don’t lose my Google Voice number I’ll be okay with it," so we’ll see what the company has in store.
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