The latest version of Google Voice is available and it's bringing both cosmetic changes and making preparations for new features. For those that use Voice with multiple accounts, the account switcher has been repositioned to a more convenient location. A teardown also shows upcoming support for vCard attachments and Android's Car Mode, which will make it easier for users to make calls with Google Voice while driving.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Updated account switcher

Account switcher

Google's approach to app design has gone through many changes over the years as trends come and go. With the transition into the latest incarnation of the Material Design guidelines, many of Google's own apps have migrated away from having an account switcher located in the navigation drawer and now position it in the top right corner, often as part of a search bar.

Left: Account switcher. Center + Right: Account switcher in v2019.28.

With the latest update, Google Voice joins the pack. You can now find your account avatar in the now standard position at the top right. Tapping on it brings up a dialog box instead of sliding any part of the UI down to reveal accounts.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are wrong or inaccurate. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that products could change or may be canceled. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.

Driving Mode

Google hasn't always put a lot of effort into the various incarnations of Driving Mode (sometimes called Car Mode) on Android. This is the special UI that a phone could go into so apps would show a different, and usually more glanceable interface. However, with the announcement that new version of Driving Mode with tight Assistant integration was in the works and would replace the Android Auto (on the phone) interface, it seems like there's a renewed effort to get a few new apps to provide their own car-oriented capabilities.

Google Voice is getting in on the action with  support for Driving Mode. At this point, the implementation only appears to support the ability to make calls with Google Voice.

strings
<string name="car_mode_dialer_integration_title">Driving Mode</string>
<string name="car_mode_dialer_integration_explanation">Some apps with a driving mode don\'t let you select a number while driving. Do you want to use your Google Voice number to make calls while driving?</string><string name="car_mode_call_interception_setting_notification_title">Set your driving-mode calling preference</string>
<string name="car_mode_call_interception_setting_notification_text">Tap to set</string>
<string name="car_mode_call_interception_failed_notification_title">Can\'t call until you set driving mode</string><receiver android:name="com.google.android.apps.voice.carmode.notification.EnterCarModeReceiver_Receiver" android:exported="false">
<intent-filter>
<action android:name="android.app.action.ENTER_CAR_MODE" />
</intent-filter>
</receiver>

vCard support

Turning to the messaging capabilities of Google Voice, it looks like vCard support is also in the works. At least that's the clear implication from the new line shown below. This should allow attachments in vCard format — a standard for contact details — to be read and used for adding contact information to your phone, like phone numbers and email addresses.

<string name="message_item_vcard_content_description">vCard</string>

There really isn't much to say about vCard support, but if you want to read my best effort to say more, here's a teardown of Google Allo from a couple years ago when the same thing was happening in there.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Google Voice
Google Voice
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free