Google Voice to get VOIP support, Hangouts getting encryption

Just this week Google took the unusual step of rolling out some updates to the oft-forgotten Google Voice app. Voice has been lurking in the proverbial shadows of Google’s portfolio of communication tools, so seeing improvements roll out was unexpected. The bulk of the changes that hit this week were interface updates. New reports indicate Google is working on some new features and capabilities for Voice to add support for VoIP and in a related move Hangouts will get some beefy encryption added to that platform.

When Google provided the update for Voice earlier this week, they indicated the app would be getting more regular updates. Apparently the inclusion of VoIP support is close to the top of the list in terms of features to be added in one of these forthcoming updates. According to a source with Google:

The updated Google Voice app doesn’t have VoIP features — it has the same features for making calls as the existing Google Voice app. Hangouts will ring by default in addition to any forwarding phones on your account, just as it did before. (Again, not a change with the new app.) We are working on VoIP integration.

Along with the support for VoIP, Google is believed to be working on support for WiFi calling. This would allow WiFi to be used as a backup when cellular coverage is lost. This also means the ability to make and receive calls could be extended to the desktop and a web interface. The ability to untether communications from a specific platform and follow a user to whatever device they happen to be using is a major feature for many users and could definitely help entice users to give Voice a try.

Related to the improvements to Voice, sources also indicate Google is planning to add some strong encryption capability to the Hangouts platform. Google is trying to move Hangouts away from the general consumer market and position it as an enterprise solution. That is likely part of the reason we are seeing the enhancements to Voice as a way to entice regular users off of Hangouts and over to Voice. Adding in additional security features like better encryption to Hangouts will make it a more attractive platform for the enterprise.

source: 9to5Google

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a MINI Cooper, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three mostly grown kids and a golden retriever.

  • Rocky LaBarbera

    Wtf is he talking about, I’ve been making voice calls to landlines from my desktop via hangouts/voice for a half decade. Maybe he’s trying to say that voip calls will now be supported on the android app? Not sure about this but I thought that was already possible as well?

    • Swivelgames

      It is… Hangouts dialer AND Google Voice Android app support VoIP calls. Hangouts uses data, and Voice uses the traditional voice protocol or data (depending on connectivity) to make and receive calls. Both are highly beneficial. You can even make Hangouts Dialer your default Phone app for making calls, and viewing voicemail and such. It’s full featured…

  • Swivelgames

    You can already make and receive calls on desktop/web… Hangouts has had this feature for a long time. In addition to that, my default outbound call hook is my Google Voice SIP, and it’s a 100% Wi-Fi call when connected to Wi-Fi, and 100% cellular (non-data) when connected to cellular.

    What’s new here? Custom SIP clients would be nice, but aside from that, I’m not sure what we’re talking about?

    • sprale

      The ability to make and receive calls with a Google Voice number has been available for years, and not just in the Hangouts app, but in Gmail as well. My Voice line rings my (android) phone, computer, and any other device I’m logged into, effectively giving me WiFi calling already. I’ve got multiple Google accounts, so each Voice number set up rings all of my devices.

      I haven’t given out an actual land or mobile number in years to anyone but close friends and family. Businesses get my Voice numbers, makes it easier to manage spam and telemarketers.

  • ScottStevens4

    Thank you for directing my attention to these capabilities of Google Voice. I really haven’t had time to keep up with Google’s progress on so many fronts so it is of great help to us who are less tech savvy and appreciate people like you who can point us in the right direction. I have one of the first Goodle numbers and voice accounts but gives used it very little. Now I’m going to take a fresh look at it.