Google Voice is getting the much needed scrutiny it deserves from the Mountain View-based company. A post written by Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal revealed three things that users should be aware of: unfortunately the latest Hangouts app will only work with Google Voice numbers on enabled Sprint phones, that Google Voice is cracking down on third-party apps that use the service without permission, and Google is looking at enabling its Voice numbers to work outside of the US and to support MMS.
Earlier this week, Google’s Vic Gundotra shared that updates would be coming this week to Hangouts, specifically the integration of SMS and MMS inside the app. Users should start seeing that on Android phones today, but only for those that are using Google Voice numbers on Google Voice enabled Sprint phones. Singhal says that by early next year, SMS message support should be included and for more carriers.
Google is also starting to crack down on third-party applications that are providing calling and SMS services through “unauthorized use” of Google Voice. Starting May 15, 2014, the company will begin a campaign to police the ecosystem and has begun notifying developers of this effort, saying that by not doing so could jeopardize the safety of the users.
Lastly, if you have a Google Voice number, it only works in the US and you can only send SMS messages. Singhal admits that Google has been listening to the feedback regarding expanding its offering and including MMS message support. However, in order to do so, it needs to work with the carriers. There aren’t any definitive plans in place at this time.