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An Update on Hangouts and Google Voice Integration, It’s Going to Take Some Time

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After Google announced this week that Hangouts for Android would finally have SMS support, the immediate two reactions were, “What about MMS?” and “What about Google Voice?” We know now that MMS support is coming as well, but the move to integrate Google Voice appears to be a bit trickier. In a post to G+, Nikhyl Singhal (Google’s product manager of Hangouts) talked about a hurdle that needs to be dealt with before they can securely merge Voice with Hangouts on Android. In other words, it’s going to take more time. 

At this time, the only Google Voice users who will be able to use SMS and MMS in Hangouts are those who integrated Voice with their Sprint lines. For everyone else on Google Voice, support is coming later. Keep in mind that if you aren’t using Google Voice, you won’t have any issues using the SMS and MMS features in Hangouts. He mentioned that once this all happens, your Voice number will go unchanged.

Singhal also mentioned that part of the reason they are taking so long is because of 3rd party apps that are using Google Voice to provide calling and SMS services. These apps are apparently in violation of their ToS and potentially pose a threat to your security should you use them, so they have notified these developers that they must stop using Google Voice services by May 15, 2014. They don’t necessarily want to move forward until they have a completely secure service. So does that mean we won’t see integration until next May or will it be sooner? Kind of tough to tell.

Here is Singhal’s message:

– Unfortunately, today’s update does not work with Google Voice numbers unless you’ve enabled Google Voice on your Sprint phone. But rest assured, we’re working to support SMS messages for all Google Voice phone numbers by early next year. And don’t worry, your Voice number will go unchanged.

– We hear you loud and clear: you want Google Voice phone numbers outside the US and to support MMS. We are listening and working hard to make this happen, but we need to work with carriers and this can take some time.

– Finally, we want to make Google Voice as secure as possible. There are a few third-party applications that provide calling and SMS services by making unauthorized use of Google Voice. These apps violate our Terms of Service and pose a threat to your security, so we’re notifying these app developers that they must stop making unauthorized use of Google Voice to run their services and transition users by May 15, 2014.

And I don’t think I need to point this out, but iOS has some Google Voice integration already. Maybe they aren’t running into issues with 3rd party developers over there? Either way, it’s coming, we just need to remain patient.

Via:  +Nikhyl Singhal

Cheers Josh and Willimus!

  • rykellim

    Hi, do you know if Google Hangouts can be used to call phone numbers soon, and without a Google Voice “subscription”, the way Skype can be used to do so?

  • inklenotrump

    huh – so no one is pointing out why they’re really not doing it right?

    I mean is Talk-a-Tone a third party App that uses it? that app allows people to circumvent their ‘minutes’ plans all together. that’s what the people want and probably why this integration is against the ToS.

    So you keep having to pay separate tolls for things that are all essentially the same thing (data) just labeled differently. right? So really it should just be Data we’re paying for not voice and SMS/MMS..

    I can’t be the only one that sees this right?

  • Sanjay Wilson

    I have this update 😀

  • Daryl

    There is a way to send a sms with your Google voice # through hangouts. Have the other person text your Google voice #. You’ll receive it from a # you don’t recognize. Use that to sms them back and it’ll show up as if you sent it from your Google voice #. I save their # in my contacts as GVoice so I can remember which is which.

    • johnjohnjohn

      That’s what I did back in 2009. Since then, they’ve made their g-voice apps work good enough that I haven’t done this in years. I though we got away from managing the fake contact numbers…

  • John Motschenbacher

    MMS does already work

  • jonathan

    ok remember when Google now was released it was only compatible with 4.1 and no one could make it work for weeks and weeks on end till they found a way give them time they will make it happen through Rom but if you up date custom roms this shouldn’t be a problem but the update will come from Google will more than likely roll out to older that 4.4 at some point i say roll out to start tonight or Monday the Google + update i just got but most the new stuff is only available on 4.3 and above

    • Suralin

      I am not sure what’s more amusing – that you believe roms will do Voice integration when Google says it will take more time from them or that your only use of punctuation is when you state Android version numbers and contractions?

  • Michael Quinlan

    If third parties are making unauthorized use of Google Voice services, then warn them that their applications will no longer work after a certain date, and then proceed with development. That date should not be 6 months away – more like 2-4 weeks.

    • And honestly, they don’t need to give them any notice at all. It’s unauthorized use.

  • DesmondHume

    As a loyal person to all-things-Google, this is very frustrating.

  • XvierX

    I came to this post hoping to find an apk download link. Dang it.

  • unknown author

    Google is making me want to get an Iphone so I can use Google Products!

  • Chippah

    Multi billion dollar company,

    Cant figure out how to fix simple
    things or deliver a a non beta-like app at launch…

    Gives the direct enemy competition (IOS) new features first.

    • Adrynalyne

      Multi billion dollar company,

      Gives the direct enemy competition (IOS) new features first, to profit off the users.

      Google makes a lot of money off of iOS to just forsake it.

      • EdubE24

        Or to just make a lot of money..

  • Inquizitor

    So basically, it’s because of workarounds from Koush and Sliding Messaging, that were put in place in the first place because Google wasn’t integrating GV and Hangouts, that we now have to wait even longer for the integration of GV and Hangouts. Awesome.

  • shipper

    I give up. I think it’s time to abandon ship when it comes to Google Voice. It’s been neglected for far too long and obviously isn’t being a made a priority here.

  • Clayton Burnett

    so i’ve got Google Voice integrated with Sprint..so how do i get this enabled…I’m tired of so many messaging apps…just want 1 puhlease.

  • Luxferro

    They mislead and lied to us all. This soured an exciting day with the release of the Nexus 5. Makes me wish I bought an iPhone like almost all of my friends have, instead of the Nexus 5.

    • Luxferro

      I guess you guys that vote me down don’t use google voice exclusively… Some people just vote down any criticizing of google no matter what. As an owner of OG Droid, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 x2, and Nexus 5 (soon to be shipped) I think I’m allowed to feel betrayed they put iOS as a priority over android for GV integration into hangouts.

      • Defenestratus

        I’m voting you down because this is a silly complaint over which to abandon an ecosystem.

        • TheVoiceOfReason

          Agreed. Reminds me of the child I saw pounding his fists on the floor at Wal-Mart the other day.

          • Blue Sun

            ^^ Listen to the voice of reason!

        • Luxferro

          Silly to you, but not to me. They haven’t done anything with Google Voice for years. Koush even created Voice+ in CM so that you can get GV txts in the stock messaging app. But Google already has it working in iOS, but will probably need 4 months to do so on Android.

          • SparkysShocker

            Im sure Voice+ and other 3rd party solutions like it are the reasons they are running into hurdles.

          • Luxferro

            How so though? I can’t see them slowing their work on integrating google voice and hangouts because they will break a couple 3rd party apps. 3rd party apps get broken all the time by Android updates.

          • johnjohnjohn

            There are lots of Voice users who use these 3rd party apps, and rather than upset them by killing all the apps immediately, Google wants to make it known that Voice users will no longer be able to use these apps. I don’t think that takes 6 months, but I can understand they must weigh “angry 3rd party app using Voice users” vs “impatient Voice users”. I’d rather have impatient people after me than angry people.

    • acras

      How have they misled us? “Soon” is a subjective word, andyou should know that when used by someone marketing a product or service could have a very broad timeline.
      Where are you coming up with 6 months? The date for 3rd. Party app developers to stop violating gvoice ToS is just shy of 7 months from now, but doesn’t have any bearing on the integration of gvoice to hangouts for android. Google could release it tomorrow and still give those developers until May to comply or shut down the apps.

      • Luxferro

        I’m coming up with 6 months based on this http://blog.obihai.com/2013/10/important-message-about-google-voice.html and the fact that the only estimate to integrate GV SMS by early 2014. So who knows when VOIP of GV will be integrated. So basically somewhere from 3-6 months is a fair guestimate.

        • acras

          But again , the deadline for third party apps to comply doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the updats of Hangouts , they could wait until 2015 to release it just as easily as December 2013

  • Daniel G.

    This is a joke. Talkatone is also available on iOS and they STILL HAVE VoIP!! I call BS Google. #WHYCANTYOUGETYOURSH*TTOGETHER?!

  • Tristan

    Good, maybe by next year they will have worked some of the bugs out of hangouts. I do not want hangouts and google voice to merge, because I need google voice to work. I don’t know what I will do if the number I have been using for years starts working as poorly as hangouts…

    • Justin W

      I would rather use one for all my messaging than have to struggle through the hell that is Voice right now. Messages are unorganized and horribly threaded, unlike Hangouts and AOSP Messaging.

  • rekem

    Translation: We can integrate Voice into Hangouts now, but if we did, you could use an alternative, which means we couldn’t bully you into signing up for a Google+ account, so we’ll bully those couple of app developers into removing Voice support by 5/5/14, then we’ll throw in Voice integration and pad our Google+ numbers.

    Looks like I’ll be porting my number from Voice to T-Mo next year.

    • MKader17

      Ohhh you showed them ditching a service they provide for free only to continue using an android phone or an iPhone with gApps.

      If you really want to “stick it to them” switch to Bing.

  • Kurt Weber


    • Mike Hilal

      Advertising revenue. Apple users w/o jailbreak cannot block ads. There are far more of them than “us”, and that’s why apple devices have GApps support. They also have a team dedicated to just iOS there as well.

      • thelolotov

        Android users without root can’t block ads reliably. Android is larger than iOS in usershare.

        • Mike Hilal

          They can still block SOME. Larger in usershare, but not on premium devices that can utilize all of google’s services. That’s why iOS gets love that we dont.

  • teleclimber

    Finally some solid info! Thank-you!

  • MikeSaver

    Does anyone else find it weird that google uses the words “SMS” within the actual application?

    It seems like its tech jargon that we all understand, but the average user doesnt know what a SMS is. Maybe should’ve gone with “Text Message” or something. Not a big deal, just wonder if that will confuse some MOMS

    • Dutch

      ‘SMS’ is what the rest of the world calls it.

  • Kevin Lauscher

    I don’t get why it is difficult to do this for android, yet iOS has integration already? I figure the ‘integration’ is happening on the backend servers and not on the user ends phone/os

    • Adrynalyne

      Different team of developers, less devices and less OS versions to consider.

      • joder

        Are you hinting at Android being fragmented?

  • As someone who lives outside your land, the US of A, WTF is Google Voice and why do people use it over their carrier?

    • Personally I use it primarily for speech-to-text voicemail and so I don’t have to call in to that pesky-ass Voicemail number whenever I get one, Google intercepts it and I can play it from the application.

      • Thanks for explaining what it does and why you use it, i really want one now, has a lot of benefits.

    • brkshr

      -Speech to text voice mail
      -Play voice mail from application, so I don’t have to call in to get it
      -The ability to have one phone number ring several different phones at the same time. I personally use my GV# as my main business line. So if anything gets messed up on the land line or my mobile phone, I can forward the number where ever I want, without interruption in service.

      • Thanks for explaining what it does and why you use it, i really want one now, has a lot of benefits.

    • Ryan Stewart

      Its basically phone number forwarding. I have a google voice number and then I have the number that is actually attached to my phone.

      I can setup Google Voice to send calls to that fake number to my phone, and have outgoing calls from my phone go through that number. As a result I have basically a universal number that can work with any phone. It can ring multiple phones and be called out on by multiple phones. If I am in germany, and have a data connection, I still get SMS and can send SMS through that number home. Also, if I get a local SIM I can still call using that number (although then I pay).

      It also transcribes voice messages far better than my carrier.

      • Thanks you for explaining what it does and why you use it, i really want one now, has a lot of benefits.

        • Carlton Crasher

          So, I have just ordered a Nexus 5…I am on verizon though and will be using my S3 to tether LTE all the time (don’t question everyone else 2g-3g except Verizon in my area)….I can still port my number to voice (and gain a fake from Verizon) and use wifi calling on my nexus 5 correct? i just won’t have support for hangouts wifi calling yet? and what about mms besides email…blaH?

          • Tim242

            what? Tether to an S3? Are you ill?

          • Carlton Crasher

            why is it a bad idea? i want a nexus and like it or not Verizon stomps on all other carriers in my area

          • Tim242

            I understand your frustration. However, you will find out soon enough how hard it is to juggle two phones…just keeping them charged will keep you busy.

          • Carlton Crasher

            well lucky for me i use a zerolemon 7000mah in my S3, so i will be set there and since the nexus will be on wifi, good there….as far as juggling….yeah..a little extra weight…good thing i almost always wear cargo shorts all year round!!! xD someone told me about a mifi, but i was like, well, i don’t know about battery life, and to me its as big as a phone (relatively) so why not have a backup phone in case i flash something wrong on my nexus when i’m not at home!!! 😀 😀

          • Jeff Badger

            I don’t think your plan is going to work. If you port your current number from Verizon to Google Voice, there is a good chance that Verizon will say that you ended your contract with them. If this happens, Verizon will require you to open a new line of service and you’ll lose your unlimited data.

          • Carlton Crasher

            I don’t have unlimited anymore and run a 12GB plan and I will be at the Verizon store when j port my number to Google lol

    • IamTheFij

      I use it so that I can send SMS and listen to voicemails from my phone. Also it routes calls to multiple lines. This makes it super easy for me to switch carriers and not even have to bother porting my number or ever telling people a new one. I just switch and then add the new number to Google Voice.

      Lately, there have been other alternatives for sending SMS from your computer and I don’t switch carriers that often… Reasons to use GV are running out.

  • Where is hangout update that was promised at this weeks Google+ event?

    • Shane Redman

      Latched onto the N5 and 4.4…..unable to be pulled and side loaded.

      • big ballsack

        what? why can’t it be pulled?

        • Shane Redman

          I don’t know, but that’s what i’ve been reading in the comments here and Android Police. That’s it’s integrated with the phone and OS. Apparently people have already been trying. I hope it’s not true though.

          • big ballsack

            isnt there a system image available?

          • Shane Redman

            I’m just letting you know what I’ve read. People have already pulled the apk and tried to run it on other phones and it didn’t work. Looks like this may be one we have to wait out until the 4.0+ Version is pushed.

          • big ballsack

            ohhhhhhhhh myyy come on man thats not fair

          • IamTheFij

            That doesn’t really make sense… Might require new Google Services though. That would mean that we’d have to wait for that update first (or pull it from the device).

            But Google has already stated the update will be released before the device was even announced. So the app can’t be specific to the N5.

          • Shane Redman

            I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s what I read. That ppl have tried.

          • IamTheFij

            We must try harder! 😉

        • Blue Sun

          From what I read, the .apk isn’t compatible with 4.3, It is only compatible with 4.4 at this time. We’ll have to wait for the 4.0+ version to get released I’m guessing.

          • Adrynalyne

            They probably compiled it with 4.4 APIs.

            That means it won’t work with anything under 4.4.

          • Jordan

            So you’re saying it is possible, I just have to get 4.4 on my phone? Challenge accepted.

          • Tyler

            ASOP was dropped earlier today so creating 4.4 rom isn’t out of the picture. I would expect to get some roms for nexus phones within at least a day or 2.

          • Tyler

            Thats what I’m thinking because 4.4 has a bunch of APIs for how messaging works and the whole system was revamped so that you can have a default messaging client (whether thats 3rd party or not) that can send and receive messages and 3rd party can send and receive through the default one. Its about all documented here under SMS provider: http://developer.android.com/about/versions/kitkat.html

            EDIT: I would hope that google wouldn’t make SMS a 4.4 only feature.

        • Sean O’Connor
      • Dedren

        I googled Hangouts apk and found the file and installed it on my Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 and it seems to be working fine. I can see use Google Voice too, but they don’t work together just as stated in this article.