Google had put its Voice product on hold for more than a few years. Google Voice is a VoIP-centric platform for virtualizing a phone number whether it be for carrying a second number around, keeping your actual number private from sketchy craigslist sellers, or using Google’s free visual voicemail alternative.
Over the past few years, Google’s had growing success with the Android platform, not to mention the other projects like Google Photos, Android Wear, and the widely acclaimed success of the Google Chromecast as well as more recent ambitions like Google-Fi and Google Home. It seems that Google found more value in concentrating on these other huge overtakings while putting Google Voice on hold.Updated Google Voice app
Now that all these projects are operational and established, Google is now able to focus some of its resources into updating a popular product for US-based Googlers.
Google Voice has been revamped from the ground up with a new, clean interface and material-UI design language for its Android, iOS and Web applications. Three tabs (in the mobile app) now separate messages, calls, and voicemails into their own tabs. Conversations are no longer a mishmash of messages, jumbled up into clumps as Google Voice now supports threaded message conversations.
Also new is official support for photo MMS and group MMS messaging. Previously, support for this was somewhat botched and didn’t work with recipients of certain carriers.
The last new feature on Google Voice’s new 5.0 update is voicemail transcoding for caller messages left in Spanish, though this one is still not 100% working yet.
Google expects to continue providing updates to its Voice apps in the future. If Google finds success with Google Voice (however that might be), perhaps it would even be willing to expand the service to other countries, at least the ones whose regulations would allow Google to manage a large amount of virtual phone numbers.
The update will arrive to everyone over the coming weeks. If you can't wait to be updated, you can sideload the Google Voice APK from here.