Back in the day, Google Voice used to receive a fair amount of attention, and why not? It offered users the option to place calls over the internet which means that if they didn’t want to exceed their phone bill, using services like Google Voice and Skype would have been the way to go.
However these days we haven’t heard much from Google regarding Google Voice, which has led some to believe that Google might be letting the feature die, but according to a rumor from 9to5Google, they claim that Google could be integrating Google Voice in the Hangouts in the future.
In fact this consolidation could be taking place in the near future as they speculate that it could happen in time for Google I/O which will be taking place in the middle of the year. As it stands the Google Hangouts app currently features voice calling and with Android 4.4 KitKat, Google also decided to integrate SMS into the Hangouts app, doing away with the need for a separate messaging app.
Some have criticized this move by Google, claiming that it is now a little confusing and messy to have both SMS and Hangout chats consolidated into the same app without any clear distinction between the two, but hopefully Google will be able to do something about it and not let the same happen should they decide to integrate Google Voice into Hangouts.
It has also been suggested that Hangouts could allow users to call other users via their phone number using VOIP for free, which naturally would not go down well with carriers since they do make some of their revenue from voice calls. However assuming this will happen, it means that users will no longer need a calling phone, just an internet plan if they wish to place calls.
None of this is confirmed at the moment but hopefully more details will emerge at a later date, perhaps as we get closer to Google I/O which will be held in the later part of June this year.