Google Voice Gains New Lease On Life with Massive Overhaul
Google today introduced a wholly new version of Google Voice for Android, iOS, and the web. The calling, voicemail, and messaging platform has been overhauled from the ground up with a new design, new features, and a fresh commitment from Google to keep the service updated. Google Voice now includes separate tabs to help people manage text messages, calls, and voicemails. Conversations with individual contacts are threaded to improve ease-of-use. Google Voice adds support for group messaging and photo MMS, features long absent from the previous version of Google Voice. These go a long way toward allowing the service to act as a primary messaging application. Google says it is working with mobile network operators to add support for RCS to the service down the road. People who prefer to use Google Hangouts for their messaging services will need to choose either Hangouts or Voice, as only one can be used at a time; moreover, Voice will not migrate conversation threads from Hangouts into Voice. Existing features, such as voicemail transcription, remain intact, and Voice gains new spam filtering tools to keep pesky messages out of your inbox. Google says it is rolling out the new Google Voice in stages. Android devices will receive it first, with iOS to follow. Google expects all users to have access to the new Google Voice within a few weeks.
Google to Strip SMS from Hangouts May 22
Google today outlined a number of changes to its various messaging services, including a dramatic shift for Hangouts. Starting May 22, Google Hangouts will no longer support SMS for text messaging between phones.
Google Hits Refresh Button on Hangouts for Android
Google today pushed out a significant update to its Hangouts messaging application for Android devices that puts it inline with the iOS app. Google overhauled Hangouts' visual appearance with material design, and improved how the app feels thanks to more fluid transitions, and better touch response.
Google's Voice Assistant Now Works with Some Chat Apps
Google today extended the voice capabilities of its Google Search app by allowing it to interact with third-party messaging apps. People can now issue commands such as "Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message" to initiate and dictate messages in a handful of popular messaging apps.
Google Threads Voice Commands Deeper Into Google Maps
People can now use their voice to take full command of Google Maps when in the car. Google updated Maps today and added more support for "Ok, Google"-based voice commands.