Back when Hangouts was still a rumor, we were under the distinct impression that it would unify off all of Google’s messaging services. The cold hard truth is, Hangouts is merely a replacement for Google Talk. It didn’t do much to alleviate the confusion of Google’s various messaging apps, and has even stripped some well liked functionality, like desktop calling from Gmail.
Fortunately, Google isn’t even close to being finished with Hangouts. We’ve already heard that SMS integration is a high-priority for the Hangouts team, and now we know that not only is desktop calling making a comeback, but tight Google Voice integration is on the horizon.
In a Google Plus post from this morning, Google’s manager of real-time communication products, Nikhyl Singhal, explained the status of desktop calling from Gmail, which was lost in the move to Hangouts, and the future of Google Voice. According to Singhal, inbound and outbound calls are being worked on. For now, users can still take advantage of inbound calling in Voice, and stick with the old Talk in Gmail. Other than that, users are stuck playing the waiting game.
Singhal also took a moment to address Google Voice a little more in-depth, saying that, “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.”
Hangouts may not be the unified messaging service we were originally hoping for, but it’s being worked on. By the end of the year, I imagine Hangouts will finally combine Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Plus Hangouts, SMS and MMS messaging into one handy app. Until then, things may get little rough while everything is being ironed out.