Google Voice just got real

google voice

Google Voice was such a cool idea when it first came on the scene. You could make calls, and send text messages from your computer back when most people were still working off desktop machines. Immediately, questions arose about whether Google was going to make a go at the mobile market. How was Google Voice going to disrupt the big carriers (before the word ‘disrupt’ was cliche)? If Google got into mobile, would that mean phones would be free? Free voice calls? Free texting? Free data?!?

Well, it didn’t really happen that way. The powers that be wouldn’t allow Google to have control over all that, and internet advertising, and search (add email, maps, mobile OS, and RSS to that list – R.I.P. Google Reader).

But unlike Google Wave, Google Reader, and Orkut, Google Voice stuck around. It’s been chugging along for years, slowly building up steam and a loyal following.

Flash-forward to about a month ago when Google updated their Hangouts app and Google Voice was the main attraction.google voice

Google Hangouts was integrated with Google Voice. You could finally make and receive calls with your Google Voice number from the Hangouts app using megabytes from your data plan instead of minutes from your voice plan. You could also use your Google Voice account to send and receive SMS messages from inside Hangouts.

So cool!

But, noticeably missing was MMS. Poor, lonely MMS was left out. We knew it wasn’t a Hangouts issue, so it must have been a Google Voice issue, or perhaps a carrier issue.

Well now the wait is over. In a recent post on Google+, Alex Wiesen, Tech Lead Manager for Google Voice, shared the following news,

We’ve been working with nearly 100 different North American carriers to enable this feature — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Canada, Rogers, Telus, and many more — and starting today all these integrations are live. So enjoy those incoming pics, say goodbye to fomo (fear of missing out), and stay tuned for more Google Voice messaging improvements!

That’s right, MMS is alive and well on Google Voice inside in the Hangouts app for nearly 100 different carriers, but not Verizon. What’s up with that, Big V?

It will be interesting to see what else Google has in store for Hangout and Google Voice. Will they continue to improve separately, or will they be so integrated that they become one in the same? Time will tell.

Source [Google+]