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Hangouts is 'the future of Google Voice,' full calling functionality will return to desktop soon

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Google Voice Icon (white watermark)
Google Voice Icon (white watermark)

Google's new unified messaging platform, Hangouts, has made some worry about the future of Voice, the company's web-based phone service. Google has now clarified that full Voice functionality will soon be part of Hangouts. Users discovered that an update to the Gmail web app disabled the ability to make outbound calls from a computer, and there was no promise that the feature would return. However, in a post on Google+, the company's Nikhyl Singhal says that "outbound/inbound calls will soon be available." He advises that Google Talk will remain available for Gmail users until they add full Voice functionality to Hangouts, so if you need to place outbound calls using your Google Voice number you'll still be able to.

As for rumors of Google Voice's death, Singhal echoes comments made last week, saying "Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning." There's no timeline for when we can expect better integration, but with Voice brought into the Hangouts team the service should see a bit more attention than it has of late.