Seeing as how 2016 saw a number of new services from Google, including Allo and Duo, it's easy to forget about the old yet useful Google Voice app. Since its integration with Hangouts in late 2014, the Google Voice app hasn't seen any significant updates. However, you may very well seen a brand new version of the app this year, Google revealed.
A number of people reported seeing a banner on the Google Voice site which read "The new Google Voice is here." Clicking on the "Try Now" option, however, did not result in anything different and simply reloaded the page to the same old version. A keen eye will spot "redirection" mentioned in the URL, which means the new version is in the works.
To turn speculation into fact, Google confirmed to 9to5Google that the banner was a bit premature, but it wasn't a mistake. The company is indeed working on new updates which will come soon.
"Sorry, it looks like we must have dialled the wrong number! But don't worry, this wasn't a prank call. We're working on some updates to Google Voice right now. We have you on speed dial and we'll be sure to share what we've been up to just as soon as we can," Google said in a statement.
Google Voice is still available as a standalone app, but users are more likely to use the feature with the Hangouts app. Hangouts in its turn is slowly moving into the shadows with the entry of Allo and Duo. It was clear since late last year that Google would focus on its newest apps over Hangouts when in October it was reported that Hangouts will not be a mandatory pre-installed app on Android from December 1, 2016.
The company stated the move did not signal the end of Hangouts, but would simply be available as an optional app. However, Hangouts' fate is a lot more uncertain after Google revealed last week that it would be shutting down its Hangouts API via an update in the Hangouts FAQ page.
While nothing is known at the moment as to what the new Google Voice update will bring, it is likely that Google is now focusing on integrating Voice with Allo and Duo, and we may see the result of that soon enough.