Google Voice is finally getting an update with the addition of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), honoring the company’s commitment made in 2017 to make improvements to the application. Social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram have already been using VoIP carried over Wi-Fi or mobile data for voice calls in private or group messages, enabling communications between users through voice messages and video calls.
Google Voice has been functioning as a phone call relay system, forwarding calls through another number. However, the app has never used VoIP for carrying traffic, and has been constrained to providing traditional phone connections. There is another Google messaging app, Hangouts, that facilitates audio chat between mobile devices over WiFi. However, this app is intended more for personal use rather than for professional engagements, and a Hangouts Dialer plug-in is required to be able to place calls within Hangouts app.
Scott Johnson, Google’s Real Time Communications product lead, has recently made it public in his tweet that the VoIP call feature will be live for users of Google Voice in February, 2019. Given this news, pretty soon the app users will be able to make and receive calls over the Internet or mobile data services.
According to Google, the latest feature has been tested for eight months in its beta phase and was first made available to selected users back in September 2018. Currently, the upgraded Google Voice has only been activated for some users with personal Google or G-Suite accounts in the United States and Canada. Google has been attentively fixing any app deficiencies before making it available for general use.
As announced by Google, the first users to take advantage of the Google Voice update are those with G-Suite accounts in countries including Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, UK, Switzerland, Austria, and the US. Users in other countries will have to wait until the next update of the product.