When Google Voice relaunched in 2017, we reported that proper Voice over IP was coming to the Android client. After last spotting it in an APK Insight earlier in January, Google today has opened beta sign-ups and detailed the upcoming ability to make calls with data

A post on the Google Voice Help forum (via Android Police) this afternoon announced that calling over Wi-Fi and mobile data will soon be possible through the mobile and web clients. Users will be able to make calls with their Google Voice number from multiple devices as long as they have the app installed. Other touted features include reduced roaming charges and calling when traditional service is poor.

The web, Android, and iOS will be supported, but the functionality is still in development for the latter platform. Today, you can join the Android and web beta by first entering your email address into this form. Google notes to make sure the app is updated, with an email alerting users when Wi-Fi calling is live.

There will also be a prompt in the app, as well as new Calling options in settings to enable. Meanwhile, after every call, users will be asked to provide feedback on the voice quality. Calls use approximately .2 MB of data per minute, though the rate depends on bandwidth and network quality.

Initially, there will be some caveats, including issues with Obihai devices, the lack of incoming call options (recording and transfer), Android Bluetooth issues, and the web app only working on Chrome. The full issues are below:

  • Obihai devices won’t work if you enable calling over Wi-Fi (e.g. Incoming calls won’t ring your Obihai phone if you turn on calling over Wi-Fi and mobile data)

  • You won’t be able to use incoming call options (call recording & call transfer) when you enable calling over Wi-Fi and mobile data

  • On your computer, Wi-Fi calling only work with Chrome. Support for Firefox, Safari and Edge coming soon!

  • Android bluetooth support:

    • You won’t be able to use the buttons on your bluetooth device to answer calls or hang up

    • Unable to use earpiece mode when a bluetooth device is paired

    • Depending on your Android version, your calls might drop if you try to switch between Bluetooth and speakerphone.

9to5Google’s Take

It took Google well over a year to deliver this feature, but it definitely is welcome. When this fully launches, it moves up the final deprecation of Hangouts for consumers as VoIP features and calling with a Google Voice number was only possible in that app. Meanwhile, Hangouts Chat recently launched to all G Suite users to provide a messaging compliment to Hangouts Meet.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com