Google has announced it's rolling out the much-anticipated Google Voice VoIP application this week, following a tweet from Scott Johnston, a real-time product innovation lead with Google Voice.
The VoIP feature had been in a lengthy beta testing process and offers users the prospect of making WiFi calls using their Google account.
Under the beta version, Google had also tested the option to use a carrier rather than switching between WiFi and mobile data. Users could make and take calls via mobile carrier forwarding.
The launch allows users to make calls with Google rather than their carrier’s data allowance and by a WiFi connection, or in situations where VoIP will deliver better call clarity than the mobile coverage. It's being made available on both Android and iOS devices.
The launch of Google’s VoIP venture triggered some confusion: In September, eight months into the beta test, some users of the app who had not signed up to the beta test began seeing the feature. The update was never widely disseminated at that stage, however.
Google first announced plans to overhaul its Voice app in 2017. Prior to this launch, Google has not been able to offer conventional VoIP connectivity. Currently, Google Voice is only offered in the US and Canada, with users who have a personal Google or G-Suite account. It's likely to be extended to other countries.
Currently, the case for business usage is not widely discussed. A number of other countries have been scheduled for Google Voice roll out, among them the UK, Japan, France, Spain and Switzerland.
The new feature will be an upgrade – it won’t require a mobile phone number in order to be used. It will be practical for users with a device lacking a SIM card or who want to make a phone call using a web app.
The exact pace of the rollout remains the source of some confusion. Reports last week around the speed and extent of the international roll-out were somewhat contradictory. At this stage, it seems to be sooner to achieving reality than initially suspected.
Exactly how quickly Google will succeed in connecting Google Voice users to the new service is a source of speculation at the time of writing. Other than a single Tweet from Johston, Google has not been forthcoming with details on the rollout.
- The rollout of Google’s new VoIP service, which has been in beta testing for almost a year, is imminent.
- Beneficiaries will be users with a Google account in the US and Canada, although the exact speed and extent of the rollout is unclear as Google has simply confirmed via a tweet from a Google developer.
- Precise plans for business use and international expansion are still vague, but users will be able to use the app like other VoIP services, connecting calls through WiFi or through their mobile data usage, should this be available.