Google Voice Gets Its First Major Update in Five Years

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile with 20 Comments

Google Voice Gets Its First Major Update in Five Years

The original vision for Google Voice was solid, but Google has let the service languish for five years. Today, that is finally changing.

“When we first introduced Google Voice our goal was to create ‘one number for life,’ a phone number that’s tied to you, rather than a single device or a location,” an Official Google Blog post notes, explaining the service’s central excellence. “Since then, millions of people have signed up to use Google Voice to call, text and get voicemail on all their devices.”

I had a Google Voice number for many years, but in the transition from iPhone to Windows phone back in 2008, it became harder to use it effectively. So it kind of sat there on the back burner until Google’s Project Fi service was launched: When I signed up for that service, I had to migrate my Google Voice number to Fi. So I sort of figured that Project Fi was perhaps the future of Google Voice.

Maybe not.

This week, Google has begun the first major revamp to its Google Voice apps on Android, iOS and the web in over five years. I’m not seeing this change yet, but Google says it will fully rollout in the coming weeks. Here’s what’s new.

Cleaner design. Google Voice had been stuck in that old Gmail-like UI from the mid-2000s, but the new version is cleaner, more intuitive, and more organized, Google says. There are separate tabs for text messages, calls and voicemails, and conversations are now threaded.

Upgraded messaging experience. In addition to conversation threading, messaging supports group and photo MMS, and in-notification replies.

Voicemail transcription improvements. The voicemail transcription feature is coming to Spanish and will get better over time.

Google says it will continue to update Google Voice with “new updates and features” going forward.


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