'Making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning', says product manager
Since Google's introduction of the new Hangouts chat service, members of the team responsible for deploying it have been working to reassure people that it will eventually include Google Voice as a component. And for good reason, as there was no mention of Google Voice at Google I/O even as the ability to make outbound Google Voice calls via the desktop Chrome extension was unceremoniously removed in the update to Hangouts from Google Talk. Product manager for real time communications at Google, Nikhyl Singhal, reassured everyone today that outbound calling for Google Voice is still available via Gmail, and took a moment to reveal more information about the future of the service. In a Google+ post, Singhal went on to explain that not only will Google Voice be seamlessly integrated into Hangouts, but that "Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice". The team also intends to bring back full inbound and outbound calling functionality from the Chrome extension going forward.
While it's not completely understood why it had to remove the ability to make outbound calls on the desktop all together in this process, it's great to hear directly from Google about possible new features. Building on initial thoughts of what Google had up its sleeve for a unified chat service that would fully integrate calling and SMS, these bold statements have us cautiously optimistic about upcoming releases of Hangouts.
Source: +Nikhyl Singhal
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