Google has done its fair share of experimenting with a number of communication apps and services, many of which more often than not overlap with one another. Some apps have failed to achieve the loving embrace of consumers and have languished in purgatory for years. One could argue for example, that Google Voice got the short end of the stick because as an app it is incredibly useful but not widely adopted. Google seems to be tackling this head on and is preparing for its most important update to the app in a very long time.
A little bit confusing
In preparation Google is calling for beta tester of a VoIP service that as we said overlaps with the functionality of existing apps and services already offered by the company. The big advantage with Google Voice is that only a single number is associated with each user regardless of how many devices the user owns. Google using its black magic aka call forwarding using the same technology as regular voice calls makes this possible. This is a little strange given the fact that regular voice calls are increasingly migrating from traditional networks to the internet.
Migrating to VoIP
In many cases you will find Wi-Fi calls are completely free and even an LTE call is lower cost than a traditional network call. In such cases Google’s app is relatively useless. There have been some indications that Google is developing the capability to use the internet for calls and the fact that they have appealed for beta testers is the first official confirmation that this will soon be a reality. Clearly there is going to be plenty of confusion particularly if you are using one or more of Google’s head spinning collection of communication services.
For example, Google Voice can already be summoned directly from the Android phone dialler or the Google Phone app. The new VoIP feature however must be used within the Google Voice app itself. To add to the confusion, you can receive a VoIP call within Hangouts even if you happen to be in the middle of a Google Voice VoIP call. Instead of simplifying Google is requesting potential testers of its service to disable Hangouts whilst they are testing Google Voice.
Applications being accepted
If you are brave enough to give it a go Google is accepting applications for beta testers, though they have yet to provide a date for when the test is scheduled to begin. This means that there is also no timeline for when the feature will actually be rolled out to the wider world of Google Voice users. Nevertheless, it is an indication that the switch to VoIP is official and it will only be a matter of time before everyone will have access.