Google Voice Cuts Off Third Party Apps

Are you still using Google Voice? Better hope it’s an official Google Voice app, because third-party access is being yanked later this year. Most users won’t be affected, unless, of course, you use Windows Phone … then you will definitely lose Google Voice early next year!

According to WPCentral, third-party Google Voice app MetroTalk has been told their access to GV is being cut off by May 2014. Officially the reason is security, which makes sense, but it does fit with a pattern of Google pulling services or denying services to Windows Phone users. It also makes me wonder what the future is for Google Voice, since it hasn’t exactly been given the white glove treatment since it rolled out several years ago.

After all, Google Voice has lived in its own little silo for quite some time. It has some basic integration with Android, but nothing special, and it famously was booted from iOS before coming back much later. Google had some carrier deals in place, but those have been quiet for years, so exactly what is the plan with GV? It’s easy to see a conspiracy theory here, that third parties are being pulled to hurt Windows Phone, but the other possibility is that this is step one in a long process to either rejuvenate or kill the service. If people are using it as their main phone, GV isn’t as easy to kill as Google Reader. There will likely be a more complex migration and backup needed, and that’s certainly easier to coordinate if everyone is coming off Google’s apps instead of third parties. Likewise, if Google is trying to develop a better Google Voice, it makes sense to keep it internally developed for better deployment.

Or, maybe it really is all about sticking it to Windows Phone … maybe Google just really hates live tiles?

Do you still use Google Voice? Are you using a third-party or Google app?


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9 replies

  1. I use GV, but mostly to redirect phone calls and for voice mail. I can easily believe that this is a way to kill off support for Windows Phone users, though. Metro Talk, one of the better GV clients, announced that they’re going to have to pull the product as they were informed by Google that they would be blocked. I’m waiting for the announcement to come that Youtube is being blocked for WP users. After Google’s “cooperation” with MS to “help” them build an official app, I don’t expect any help for their users who don’t want to use Android or iOS. I can only hope that eventually WP marketshare is either large enough to be a genuine concern or that we stop getting ridiculous answers about how the “huge number of WP users” is killing Google’s services with 3rd party apps.

    It’s been enough for me to pull most of my usage of Google. I still have to use Hangouts in G+ for my job, but just about everything else is down to as little usage as I can possibly give them. I shouldn’t have Google actively trying to get me not to use their services. :(

  2. I’ve got two separate Google Voice numbers on my account (doable if you first grabbed a number, then ported in a number from somewhere else, and then paid to keep the first one) that I’ve been giving out. If they kill GV without letting me bring both numbers to whatever the replacement service is supposed to be, I’m going to be pretty upset.

    • I think lots of people would be pretty upset.

      That’s why I think, if it is on the chopping block, step one is to bring it in-house to make migration headaches smaller.

  3. I use GV as my work number, and I’ll need to port that number elsewhere if GV is ever killed. Imuch rather find out that this is ultimately a Google vs. MS/WP thing rather than a sign that GV is about to get the axe. =/

  4. I only use it for two things: to forward calls from my home line to GV, which will ring my cell phone and summer house, when I’m away from home in the summer; and as the voicemail for my cell phone.

    I have this strange feeling that they will be folding GV functionality into Google Hangouts, which seems to be Google’s messaging platform these days.

  5. It is my primary number for voice and text. I really hope something big is coming. If Google is rumored to be talking to talking to DishNetwork on a voice service and Dish bought Hughes net…. One can dream. I fear they are about to kill it in favor of Hangouts. If they kill Voice I will have to consider leaving them. That will take 2 regular gmail accounts and three google apps accounts down the drain.