We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.


Google Duo and Allo: The death of Google Voice?

By Juan Carlos Bagnell May 18, 2016, 3:41 pm

Google Voice was a terrific dream, which I’ve been using since before Google owned the actual service. You can have one phone number umbrella which sends and receives calls to any phone number associated with your account. It was one of the first mainstream solutions for texting over data, it transcribed voicemails, and it was compatible with traditional cell phones.

Google Voice has stagnated over the last couple years. We’ve seen Google tinker with Hangouts, and introduce Project Fi, but we’ve seen little progress on the GV front. Today at I/O 2016, Google introduced a pair of new messaging services which might plunge the knife even deeper into the heart of Voice.

google io 2016 Screenshot (346)

Duo and Allo are fast, lean, cross-platform messaging and video call apps built to compete against the growing number of competitors like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Why might this affect Google Voice? These services depend on your phone’s number. The actual number from the SIM, not your Google Voice number.

I have two phone lines, my wife uses a personal line and a work line, but all of our family and friends only get one number to reach us which will ring the phones we have associated with Voice. None of our contacts have the actual phone numbers assigned to the individual cellphones, because we’ve never needed to use them. We haven’t really used services like Whatsapp. They don’t follow easily from phone to phone. It’s tricky swapping the contact number associated and reauthorizing the app.

google io 2016 Screenshot (350)

With the announcement of Duo and Allo, we see a future move towards making an individual’s phone number the identifier for that individual, and these services don’t work with virtual numbers like Google Voice. To participate, I’ll need to swap SIM cards when I can, and when I can’t (say I’m reviewing phones on different carriers), then Duo and Allo just won’t be able to follow me to that other phone.

Regardless, there’s an ever shrinking window of convenience from using a virtual Google Voice number against the compromises of not being able to use new apps and services.

Godspeed Google Voice. You were a fantastic service, but it looks like it’s time to move on…



Latest Articles


Here's how the Apple iPod changed the world in 21 years

iPod was an industry-changing device at its time, and it had a massive impact on modern smartphones, and the way we listen to music. We take a last look at the now-discontinued Apple iPod and the history it leaves behind.

By Roland Udvarlaki May 11, 2022, 10:00 am

How to use Mic Modes in VOIP and FaceTime Calls

This guide will go over the steps you need to follow to activate one of the available Mic Mode settings on Apple Devices to begin using the feature and improve your calling experience.

By Aryan Suren May 10, 2022, 10:00 am

This iPhone 14 feature might urge users to upgrade

Until now, it appeared that iPhone 14 would only be a minor upgrade over the iPhone 13 series. However, a new leak suggests that the iPhone 14 will come with one feature that might urge users to upgrade.

By Sanuj Bhatia May 9, 2022, 5:00 am