Amid this weekend’s flurry of developments related to Google’s messaging future around ‘classic’ Hangouts, as well as Hangouts Chat and Meet, Google Voice was left out. The latter launched for G Suite enterprise in beta this July, and should be entering “General Availability” this coming March.
At Cloud Next 2018 in July, Google announced that a new enterprise tier of Google Voice would be joining G Suite. It comes as the VOIP service was relaunched in early 2017 after years of minor updates.
Since last year, Google has been expanding its telephony offerings for business customers. Project Fi — now Google Fi — joined G Suite in June of 2017 to allow admins to better manage a fleet of accounts and numbers for the MVNO service.
The enterprise version for G Suite features better user management, detailed reports, and call routing functionality. When provisioning and porting phone numbers, admins can assign to either individuals or entire departments; the latter use case being ideal for department stores.
It also features integration with the rest of G Suite, including Hangouts Meet for video and Google Calendar, while a Contacts tab allows for quick dialing. Meanwhile, AI features aimed at simplifying the user experience allow for spam filtering and voicemail transcription.
According to Scott Johnston, Google’s product lead for Google Voice, as well as Hangouts Chat and Meet, enterprise Voice is exiting beta in March of 2019. His resume notes how Google “plan[s] to GA in March of 2019.” This date could of course change based on various factors, and we’ve reached out to Google to confirm this timeline.
“General Availability” is the company’s term for projects launching in stable, with the current Google Voice sign-up for enterprise requiring an application process. The resume also reveals that the consumer Voice team was merged with the enterprise team.
He found that because Google doesn’t use phones, we had missed a huge opportunity in enterprise Cloud Telephony. So we started a project in Apps to build an enterprise Google Voice offering. Once we were far enough along to prove a viable path to success, we brought the consumer Voice team into Apps, merged with the enterprise team, and put all our efforts towards an enterprise offering. Enterprise Voice launched to Beta in July 2018, and we plan to GA in March of 2019.
While the relaunch in 2017 reassured Google’s commitment to the service with a new design and features, it joining the G Suite enterprise division is another good sign towards its long-term existence and maintenance.