My post this week about Google Voice ringing into Google+ Hangouts generated a good bit of commentary, not only on the original post but also out on Hacker News, Reddit, Google+ and other areas. Given the range of responses, I thought I'd reply to a couple of points and also expand on some further related topics. So here goes...
"DUH! This is nothing new/disruptive. You could do it forever with GTalk/Gmail!"
A common response was to point out to me that Google Voice had been integrated with GoogleTalk / GMail for quite some time and so this integration was really nothing new.
Okay, fair enough. Point taken.
I'll admit that I never keep GMail open in a web window and so while I do recall that this integration was there in the past, I never personally used it.
Similarly, in Google+, I've taken to logging out of the GoogleTalk/chat sidebar because I found it was sucking up CPU cycles on my Mac. For whatever reason, the new Hangouts sidebar doesn't seem to consume as much CPU cycles and so I've left it running there.
So yes, the integration may have been there in the past and now it is there in Hangouts - and people like me are actually now noticing it. :-)
Ringing G+ Hangouts BEFORE Ringing Other Devices
There were a couple of comments that it seemed like calls to a Google Voice number rang the Google+ Hangouts first and then rang the other devices connected to the GV number. In my own testing there does seem to be about a 3-second delay between when the call starts ringing in Google+ Hangouts and when it starts ringing on my cell phone and Skype. Now, this may be a fact of Google giving priority to their own application - or it may just be an architectural fact that when they fork the call out to the different numbers it is faster to connect to their own service while the calls to my cell and my Skype numbers have to go through various PSTN gateways. Either way, there does seem to be a degree of delay before all devices ring.
Delay In Answering
A couple of people noted that there was a delay from the time you hit "Answer" to when the call was actually established. I've noticed this, too, although not consistently. I think part of it may be with starting up the Hangouts component inside of your browser - particularly with getting the video going, since that seems to be required for the Hangouts component. It may also be just the paths through whatever systems Google is using. It's certainly something to monitor.
Google Voice Call Does Not Ring The Hangouts App on iOS
In my own testing, I found a curious omission. When I call in on my Google Voice number, it does not ring on my Hangouts app running on my iPad. It rings Hangouts on my web browser... but nothing happens in the mobile app. Now, my iPhone rings - but that is because it is also connected to the Google Voice account. I didn't try removing that number from Google Voice and then seeing if the Hangouts app on the iPhone would ring. At least for the iPad, nothing happens. It would be great if this did work so that I could receive the calls on that mobile device.
Multiple people pointed out that my final remark about maybe some day getting SIP support was probably unrealistic given Google "dropping" XMPP support. I was admittedly away on vacation and at a conference last week and so I missed this point in all the announcement about Hangouts coming out of Google I/O. I wrote about this yesterday, though: Did Google REALLY Kill Off All XMPP/Jabber Support In Google+ Hangouts? It Still Seems To Partially Work
Although, as pointed out in a comment on Google+, this "partial" XMPP support may just be a factor of the continued GoogleTalk support - and may fade away when Google finally pulls the plug on that.
This is definitely an area where it would be helpful if Google could provide a few clarifications.
That's all I have right now for a quite update and response to points. Thanks for all the great comments and I do look forward to seeing where Google is going with all of this.
You can also listen to an audio version of this post:
If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:
- following me on Twitter;
- adding me to a circle on Google+;
- following me on App.net
- subscribing to my email newsletter; or
- subscribing to the RSS feed