Mike Isaac

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New Hangouts App Conflicts With Google Voice Feature; Fix Coming

google_hangouts_iconLast week was a big week for Google+ — the company revamped its stream to look much more Pinteresting, beefed up its photo capabilities to the nth degree and unified Google’s messaging product across multiple platforms, now dubbed the “new Hangouts.”

There’s just one problem with the last feature: Upgrading to Google’s new version of Hangouts denigrates another of Google’s nifty services, Google Voice. After the upgrade, you’ll no longer be able to make outbound Google Voice calls from the Web or via the Chrome extension (obviously a pretty important feature in a phone service).

The good news: That handicap seems to be only temporary.

“Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning,” Nikhyl Singhal of Google wrote in a blog post on Monday morning. “Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly.”

So for Google Voice loyalists, at some point in the future, one service won’t come at the cost of the other. That’s a very good thing; Google’s new Hangouts product, frankly, is pretty great. It unifies chat across Gmail, Google+ and your phone, and includes video-calling options. To add Google Voice functionality in the future would make it a pretty killer app.

The bad news: We don’t know just how temporary this handicap is. So if you’re a regular Google Voice user, you’ll have to choose between either upgrading to the new version of Hangouts or hanging on to your Google Voice functionality and waiting for Google to make both products work in the future.

No timeline from Google on the upgraded integration between the products. For the sake of Voice loyalists, let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus