Apparently, someone at Google found the Google Voice source code sitting on a dusty server somewhere. GoogleÂ just announced a big Google Voice overhaul, marking itsÂ first major update in five years.
First up, we’ve got new UIs for the Android, iOS, and Web clients of Google Voice. All platforms get a modern white design and separate tabs for text messages, calls, and voicemails. SMS looks a lot like an IM app, with threaded messages for every contact. On Android in particular, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-era UI was an embarrassment.
Voice is also getting some new features. It now has full support for group and photo MMS, along with support for Android’s new “Direct Reply” feature, which lets you reply directly from the notification panel. Voicemail transcription now works for Spanish as well.
With today’s update, Google admitted, “Itâ€™s been several years since weâ€™ve made significant updates to the Google Voice apps (and by several, we mean around five ).” The company now promises, “going forward, weâ€™ll provide new updates and features to the Google Voice apps.”
Google Voice became a Google product after the acquisition of a “GrandCentral.” Voice gave users a phone number that they “owned” before the era of porting phone numbers. You could forward any other number to your Google Voice number and make outgoing calls using the number, allowing you to easily jump services or switch phones without worrying about how your carrier-owned number would change. It also was the only app with a decent voicemail interface for many years, along with a cool “voicemail transcription” feature. It treated voicemails and SMS messages like e-mail and IM, allowing you to access and respond to them from any computer instead of being locked into your phone. So despite Google’s neglect, users of Google Voice still stuck with the service because there is nothing else like it out there.
Many features of Project Fi, Google’s MVNO cellular service, have grown out of Google Voice features. Voice was also integrated into Google Hangouts, and Google notes that Hangouts integration will continue to work (allowing you to skip using these new apps). Fi and Hangouts seemed like the future of Voice, so seeing Voice update after five years of neglect is certainly a shock.
Listing image by Google
from Ars Technica http://ift.tt/2j6mrRK