We're still waiting to see if Google will eventually merge Google Voice with Hangouts for Android and iOS, as has been anticipated for months now. But on Wednesday, Google went ahead and did the opposite for PCs, integrating Hangouts into the Google Voice website.
The new feature makes it easier to quickly call friends, family, and coworkers when you're not close to a phone connected to your Google Voice account.
Even better, the new Google Voice-Hangouts integration does not require a Google+ account or Hangouts in Gmail to work, Alex Wiesen, tech lead manager for Google Voice (and as first reported by Engadget).
To use the new option, visit the Google Voice website and enter the number you'd like to call. Then, in the drop-down menu under Phone to call with, you'll see an option for Hangouts.
This will open a separate Hangouts window and you can carry on your voice conversation via Hangouts as you normally would.
In my brief look at the new feature, the option to call via Hangouts was only available from the Google Voice website. Choosing a phone number via Google Contacts and then trying to use Google Voice from there did not show an option to use Google's all-in-one messaging app.
One messaging app to rule them all
This latest move to bring Hangouts to Google Voice comes as many expect to see Google Voice merge into Hangouts.
In early July, the Google Operating System blog spotted a non-active placeholder feature buried in Hangouts for Android, which asked users to migrate their Google Voice numbers to Hangouts. Google Voice integration would bring that service's voicemail and text messages to Hangouts. The feature has yet to go live and could be changed or even scrapped, but rumors about a Voice-Hangouts integration have been swirling since at least March.
Most Google watchers expect to give Google Voice the axe in favor of Hangouts. This latest Voice-Hangouts integration suggests the two services may exist side-by-side for at least the near future, providing complementary features to each other.