Google Voice Merging with Hangouts

Like it or not it seems Google+ is here to stay as Google moves to integrate yet another service into the social network. If you thought that the outrage over Google+ comments merging with YouTube was bad just wait until the company’s extremely popular Google Voice becomes integrated into Hangouts, part of the Google+ network.

Google Voice the free VOIP phone call, texting voicemail and voicemail-transcription service will soon merge with Hangouts both on iOS and Android and eliminating Google Voice as a separate product.

Fans of Google Voice have already taken to Twitter to protest their concerns over the merge and the impact it may have on the service. Others are just angry at being tied into Google+ as they don’t wish to use Google’s social network.

Google recently suffered embarrassment when it’s Hangout service suffered a prolonged outage on Monday which is unlikely to inspire any confidence in the merger between Google Voice and Hangouts.

The idea of Google Voice and Hangouts merging shouldn’t come as a surprise as Google did hint at this being a possibility way back in May last year when Google+ Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal said:

"Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning. Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly."

So far there is no word on when this merger will take place but with Google’s I/O conference coming up in a few months time we could expect to hear this announced during this time.

What do you think about the planned merger between these two Google services? Have you embraced Google+ or are you trying to avoid it like the plague? As usual we would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.


Google launches new Google+ Hangouts with focus on conversations

The rumors were apparently true: Google's unified chat platform (widely nicknamed Babel) is launching as part of a Hangouts redesign. The new service focuses on conversations that carry over from device to device, including notifications and shared photos; contacts are still there, but they're pushed to the side. Live group video is new, too, while text chats make it clearer as to who has been reading and typing. Android, iOS and web users all get access to the updated Hangouts today.

Source: Engadget 

Google+ appeases audiophiles with new Studio Mode for Hangouts on Air

Since May, Google+ users have been able to show the world just how exciting their lives are via the Hangouts On Air feature. That works perfectly well for broadcasting your e-cooking lessons and all, but Mountain View has higher standards when it comes to live-streaming music. The just-announced Studio Mode for Hangouts On Air optimizes audio for music rather than speech, resulting in richer, clearer sound than what you'll get with the standard Voice Mode. Musicians simply select Studio Mode under settings -- other members of the hangout don't have to do anything. Check out a demo of the new feature below the break.

[Source: Engadget]

Gmail video chat being upgraded to Google+ Hangouts

If we were ever in doubt that Google+ is becoming more of a focus for Google, today's Gmail announcement just reinforces it a little bit more. The video chat feature in Gmail is being replaced as of this morning. Taking its place, Google+ Hangouts. 

It isn't that surprising to see this integration eventually come around, but it is still a welcome upgrade. Google+ Hangouts is already a pretty powerful video conferencing tool, and without having to be in Google+ to use it just makes it that bit more useful day-to-day. It also means that you're able to reach your contacts for video chatting on their mobile devices too. 

The beauty is, every Gmail user will benefit from this upgrade, they don't have to be using Google+. But, if you're a user of both, then you can enjoy the full Hangouts experience such as watching YouTube videos together, collaborating on documents, or perhaps more importantly, dressing as a pirate.

[Source: Android Central]