Google Voice has survived the company’s regularly scheduled ‘spring cleaning’ for over a decade now, and while it’s gone through several refreshes and iterative updates, it’s largely retained its identity, even while other voice and messaging apps that have been released have met their untimely end.
Don’t freak out – Google Voice for personal accounts isn’t going anywhere, and today’s news only applies to users who have a personal Google Account. The web app is undergoing some major changes and modernizations. Starting in February, Google will be deprecating the “Legacy” version in favor of its new UI and tools. First and foremost, instead of accessing the tool via its old URL, it’s now being moved over to voice.google.com.
With Google Voice, you get one phone number that works across smartphones, the web, and desk phones. With one number, you’re never tied to a physical device to make and receive phone calls, text messages (U.S. only), or access voicemail.
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Instead of being forced to move over in the next 30 days or so, you may want to consider “updating your web app”. By this, I mean deleting the old Google Voice icon from your Chromebook and visiting the new link. Then, save it as an icon so it’s always one click away.
Alright, let’s get on with what’s changing so that when you make the jump, you’re not confused! Anyone with a voicemail-only account is being forced to update their call forwarding preferences and add a number. Legacy Google Voice with voicemail only isn’t available for new accounts, so you’ll need to set up a full Voice account.
Additionally, Do Not Disturb Timers, Ring Scheduling, and Carrier Call Forwarding settings (Forwarding your carrier calls to Google Voice to ring that number instead, not the other way around!) are not a part of the new experience as all features that will be ported over have already been ported – sorry. As a replacement for this direction of carrier forwarding, all calls set up this way will automatically be sent to your voicemail.
Regarding adding call credits to your wallet, this is now being restricted to USD-only for direct debit – no other currencies will be supported for this manner of adding money to your account! Anyone with existing non-USD balances will have them auto-converted between June and August of this year, but only after they drop below fifty cents.
I’d be interested in learning who is currently using Google Voice in these ways and if these changes for your personal Google Account disappoint you. It’s certainly an update that’s meant to streamline the service, but there will undoubtedly be those who are upset by some of these changes, which is understandable.