The image you're seeing below popped up on Reddit this morning, and likely various tip boxes of numerous websites, offering a glimpse of what appears to be impending Google Voice and Hangouts integration - the holy grail we've all been seeking since the very announcement of Hangouts as a thing.


Exciting, right? Well, curb your enthusiasm, because there's really not much to see here, in all likelihood. We've seen this migration message inside the Hangouts APK since April, and the graphic assets for this prompt have probably been in there for a while, too. How did this person get the message to appear, though? Well, it turns out that he's using a root app to access the Hangouts debug mode, so there's basically zero reason to believe this prompt is at all new. It could be, it just isn't terribly likely. It also doesn't do anything right now - it's just a couple of functionless buttons. The same goes for this video.

Hangouts and Voice integration may only be closer in the sense that it's closer than it was 2 months ago, but that's still a wholly unknown amount of time.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Brad

    I'm not excited about this... I like having my voice-mails separated.

    • William

      Exactly, why would i want to view my voicemails in messaging app?

      • Luxferro

        I don't anyone is excited about that. But I'm sure there will be feature that exist now in GV to have them show in the stock dialer.

        What most people who use google voice exclusively want is real VOIP w/ their GV number, and threaded text messages instead of a million different conversations for each day.

        edit: seems the only people that aren't happy about the merge are those that run different numbers for business, ect.

        • William

          @Luxferro:disqus @phil_oakley:disqus Maybe i am a unique use case then. I use GV ONLY for voicemail, for my att number. Nothing else. I have on occasion made a few calls from the GV number, but very rarely.

          I can see the desire for those using GV more extensively then i for it to be joined with hangouts, its the natural progression. But for me in using GV strictly as a visual voicemail provider, it would be a nightmare.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Can you clarify for me how it would become a "nightmare?" I can see how it might be slightly less optimal, although come on... the current Voice app is TERRIBLE for playing back voicemails (play, wait five seconds, it plays three seconds, then stops, then I scrub back to the beginning and try again, and after two or three tries it finally plays), but a nightmare? They'll just show up as additional messages in Hangouts, much like other types of messages you may receive. Assuming you do ANY text messaging with Hangouts as it is, it's a place you go regularly anyway.

          • William

            The only way it would make any sense to have voice mails in hangouts is for hangouts to become truly unified not just messaging system but communication system. IE, calls, texts, emails, voice mails, etc all show up in one list. But that is not happening any time soon, and even if it were it would have to be more then a separate application, it would need to be something integrated into the OS.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            How would that make less sense than the current way it's handled, by an app that does NOTHING but text messages and voicemails? Do they go better together when those are the ONLY almost completely unrelated things the app does?

            Besides, if Hangouts takes over for Voice, it will presumably also take over the ability to handle redirecting outgoing calls the way Voice does now, picking up one of your requested functions. In fact, the only remaining function it wouldn't have is email, which is good, because dramatically better separate apps already exist for that as email is extremely more complex than something as simple as playing back a voicemail or sending and receiving simple text messages.

            Just not seeing why Hangouts picking up voicemail makes less sense than how they already do it.

      • Phil Oakley

        I don't even use voice-mails. Granted, I'm in Europe so can't use Google Voice. But don't know if I'd use them if I had Voice.

      • Connor Mason

        If I miss a call from someone, wouldn't seeing the transcription in Hangouts be nice? As of now the only place to see it is in Gmail

        • Derik Taylor

          I think once they have increased the accuracy of voicemail transcription then it will be nice to have.

          Well okay, I guess it would be nice to laugh at in the meantime, too.

        • William

          "As of now the only place to see it is in Gmail"

          Have you never used the Google Voice app before? It can display all of your voicemails and their transcriptions.

          • Connor Mason

            oh right right right, my mistake. I get the emailed transcriptions too though so that's always the first place I look

      • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

        What's wrong with the "Voicemail Display" option within the Google Voice app, which lets your phone app display the voicemail notification and handle playback / deletion (which is really archival)? I'm hoping the upgraded Hangouts app will come with this feature as well.

  • Luxferro

    And I got excited for nothing when I saw this image pop up on androidpolice :[

    (I've never seen it before)

  • Eric Meadow

    when/if this is enabled, does it mean voice will natively work with the KK select an app to handle sms messages stuff? IE will i no longer need voice+ to use the messaging app on my choice?

    • Luxferro

      yes, no more voice+ needed. no more hiccups, or a flood of messages for devices that aren't caught up.

      • Eric Meadow

        whoop whoop. thought so, just wasnt sure if it was exactly how things would work. hooray for me not being quite as dumb as i thunk i was!

    • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

      Yes, insofar as Hangouts would be the SMS app you select, and within the Hangouts app you could choose to use Google Voice SMS instead of your carrier SMS.

      • mgamerz

        Voice command texting? Yes please.

        • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

          That's already a thing, albeit carrier SMS only to my knowledge.

          • mgamerz

            Yes. I don't use that though, Google voice only.

  • Phil Oakley

    I reckon this could be a launch feature with L. We've only seen a tiny bit of what L is going to give us, so it would make sense for Google to wait and unveil this major feature with the full unveil of the OS.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Maybe, though this is pretty clearly a Hangouts thing more than an Android thing. The fact that the assets and strings have been in there a while kind of signals to me that they've either for some reason slowed development (maybe waiting for a particular Hangouts milestone?), or, perhaps less surprising, that they're having problems working the back-end of Voice into Hangouts.

      • Derik Taylor

        Well, with them adding Emoji support to Google Voice recently that is one less thing they need to do. Hopefully they have few hurdles left. I have to wonder what the days following implementation will be like though.

      • Adam Benfer

        Yea, I've been thinking the same thing since that stuff has been there for quite some time. It's also possible that Google's been trying to work out contracts with providers for Sprint like support for SMS, MMS, etc but efforts have stalled.

        • Adam Benfer

          Speaking of providers, I forgot that the T-Mobile started supporting Google Voice MMS but it hasn't worked in awhile....dunno what happened there.

  • Randy Strye


  • Mark Curtis

    At this point I'll sooner believe an article saying Google is completely discontinuing Voice than one saying Google actually integrated it into Hangouts.

    • unsivilaudio

      That will be a sad day indeed.

      • Mark Washington

        Yes that would be because that means no texting on my table without root

        • Blue Sun

          You text on that table!

          • Mark Washington


        • Alex Lipford

          Check out MightyText. I use it to text from my tablet and my browser

        • Doakie

          The FreedomPop app gives you a phone number and limited amount of texts for free. Pretty much just like Google Voice.


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  • Cory S

    I feel so teased and unsatisfied right now.

  • NF

    I imagine there'll be a big Google+ change soon including this. They've been teasing something since Vic left.

    • Derik Taylor

      How so?

      • NF

        Around the time of Vic's departure, there were a few posts from team members hinting that the service wouldn't go away. It seemed like something else would happen. I can't recall the actual posts though.

    • polesmoker99

      Yeah, they've been teasing something: US!

  • AndyRoberts

    Super! I shudder to think what's going to happen to Google Voice when it gets integrated into Hangouts. Hangouts is easily the worst Google app. They took an insanely simple UI of Talk and royally screwed it up when they merged it into Hangouts. To the point that I have now totally stopped using Talk on the phone and now only use it from the PC. I can't afford to do that with Google Voice. I use GV extensively. At this point, I'm just hoping that Google takes as long as possible to screw it up and make it unusable by adding to Hangouts. Look how long it's taken them to add features back to Maps after the form over function redesign last year.

    • polesmoker99

      I read this comment, but all I can make out of is the sound of a baby crying.

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      I hear this a lot, but I don't understand it. I use Hangouts quite regularly, with ease. Can you give an example of what aspect of it makes it so hard for you to use?

      • AndyRoberts

        With Talk, I had only the people I was interested in. With Hangouts, I got everyone I didn't care to chat with muddying up the list. I could swipe horizontally to switch between people I was chatting with. Hangouts navigation is nothing short of baffling and unintuitive. With Talk, I could easily see who was online and who wasn't. I couldn't with Hangouts.

      • http://www.vrdwellersblog.com/ Miles Reiter

        I'm also one of the people who really disliked the design when it first came out. I just took some time to really mess around with the app, and they've improved a lot. But it's still not ideal for me. While they've gone forward a lot in showing who's offline and who's online, the contact system could still use a lot of streamlining and customization options.

        In particular I don't particularly like the fact that whenever you have a chat open, you have to hit the + icon to see your contacts list. Swiping one out of many conversations back open from the right isn't any easier than just tapping on the conversation. It's like how the Google search engines options (Web, Images, Videos, etc...) now contextually change based on what you searched for. The only user it helps is the one who's inexpirienced enough to not have muscle memory. It's the same with the hangouts app. I expect to be able to swipe from the right and get contacts, but you can only do that if you're not chatting with anybody.

        • AndyRoberts

          Exactly! It's really the first Google Android app that I used that provides a terrible user experience. Normally the usability of all Google apps has been great from a navigation and flow perspective. The other app that they ruined was Maps. The earlier version was so much better. I uninstalled the updates to Hangouts and Maps on my GS3 to get back to Talk and the old Maps. But that option unfortunately no longer exists on the newer phones with KitKat.

          Google Music is another excellent app that they keep mucking around with. By and large, it's still good. But every few releases they change the UI to make it more clicks and gestures to do what used to be done more efficiently.

  • https://google.com/+LateefAlabiOki Lateef Alabi-Oki

    What I don't understand is how iOS has Google Voice calling for months now and Google can't even put the damn thing on their own native platform first. The first quarter of the year has come and gone and still no cross platform Google Voice and SMS integration in Hangouts.

    Meanwhile they've shutdown all the GrooveIP-like apps so I can't make phone calls on my tablet, which I use as my phone, anymore. I can't believe the opportunity Google is losing with Hangouts. Why are they dragging their feet so much on this issue?

    • andy_o

      FWIW, Groove IP is working better for me now with the Ring.to service. You can forward to that number from GV and treat it like another forwarding number. For dialing out it's a bit clunky cause it basically makes an automated callback (you can hear the prompts) so it takes a bit more time, but the call itself is better than what we had with Talk before. A lot less lag and before, lag would actually accumulate over time, I haven't seen this happen anymore with the new service.

    • WestIndiesKING

      Well my OBI still works so i dont care. And on iOS you can make calls but there is no texting or voice mail integration. I think finding a clean way to do the integration for Voice mail and text is an issue that i cant think of a real clean way to solve without it being annoying and nested in menus. Any who as long as they dont cut the cord till this thing is fully integrated im fine waiting. I just hope they get it right with as little bugs as possible.

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        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          Shut the f*ck up.

    • hp420

      Try two quarters!! I'm starting to get extermely impatient waiting for this, and iOS having it is just insult to injury!!!

    • blindexecutioner

      It's way easier to develop for iOS. I would imagine even the Google developers will admit to that. Why arbitrarily delay one platform just because another isn't complete?

  • Willie D

    I'd prefer to keep BOTH Voice and Hangouts separate. I use two numbers for a reason.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    So close yet so far. This merger can't come soon enough. Unlike some people, I think the Hangouts app is great, and more importantly, it's well-integrated into Android and Google Now and voice commands and Glass and Wear. In order to make any of those fully useful to me, I need to be able to text with my primary number, which is my Voice number, which means I need that to function properly in Hangouts. Please, Google. Bring it.

  • Brandon Cowan

    I actually had that pop up on me recently though I thought it was in Google Voice and not Hangouts. Out of the three people that texted my Google voice number only one actually showed up in my hangouts app. For the other two, it never gave a notification or anything but I was able to still look them up in the Google voice app. I lost it when I updated my phone to kitkat. I was on a VZW Note 3 running the latest Jellybean version of Hyperdrive at the time.

  • Linx

    I could care less about Hangouts! I want to know when full MMS integration is coming???

    • MeCampbell30


      • VI

        OR maybe there are things he does care less about ... like the exact RGB levels of the color beige.

        • MeCampbell30

          Which would be terrible if he calibrates screens for a living.

  • ash

    Google launch voice in India too.

  • http://www.vrdwellersblog.com/ Miles Reiter

    Am I the only one that doesn't want one app for all my messaging, voicemail, and IM needs? Maybe it comes down to the fact that I think even after all this time of being a major app, one that's been updated regularly by Google, I still think there are huge design and usability flaws. But basically I want to keep my messaging for texts, my hangouts for Google Talk, and I'd like an updated voice app that improves design and functionality for voicemail, and the rare occasion when I'm totally without cell reception of any kind but have wifi for texting.

  • Zimmerman

    I haven't approved of this integration since day one. I like my google voice seperate and I don't like Google Plus. I want to be able to change my gmail name too. Someone please help with changing my gmail username.

  • MrWicket

    at least seems to give us a clue of what might be coming.

  • blindexecutioner

    Correction; We haven't all been eagerly awaiting integration.

  • VI

    As Hangouts have matured it has done it at the cost of Google Voice (they integrate very poorly with each other) so this migration is making things worse until it's done. Someone needs to just double down and power through this process.

  • Andy Williams

    BTW, you can actually change the database values to show it and ask it to prompt with Preferences Manager on F-Droid Market. It still doesn't do anything as far as I can tell but there are indeed 4 values in the Hangouts databases when you open Hangouts in Preferences Manager which you can set to true.

  • deeksha5

    Facetime for IOS and Skype for Android is far better than Hanouts. The voice quality is really awesome.