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Google Voice tipped to end in the next few months

It seems as though just yesterday Google and smartphone users were lobbying for Apple to allow Google Voice into the App Store – what a difference a few years makes.
 
A report is now circulating that Google is preparing to kill off Google Voice and integrate similar capabilities into the G+ Hangouts app.
 
Google has been working hard to get more people to use Hangouts, so eliminating Google Voice would be no real surprise. The voice service will be integrated into both the iOS and Android apps allowing the users to make voice calls as they would with the web version of the software.

 
Users will still be able to keep their current Google Voice their own numbers, although we aren’t yet sure if all the intricate features and capabilities of the service will make the cut.
 
9to5Google reckons that Google could make an official announcement at this year’s Google I/O conference.

Source: 9to5Google



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RE: Why?
By NellyFromMA on 3/19/2014 11:52:32 AM , Rating: 5
It's just a misguided practice of Google's in a series of several IMO.

I have found a couple of services of Google's valuable outside of search, but I don't want to sign up to a social-networking service just to use them. Google Voice was one of them.

I just don't personally like to use a service from a provider that is establishing a track record of this type of behavior.

In a single instance of these types of decisions from Google, it's never one insurmountable thing. But it has become a serious of strange subtle choices by the company to get me to become more and more a contributor to their data aggregate and I personally am against the monetization of my behaviors by others. I'm the type that is VERY picky about being nickeled-and-dimed, even when the currency isn't money, but my usage data.

Just to cite another example of why I've been getting tired of Google for some time, in order to do a Maps app upgrade, I have to give Google new permission to read my contacts and control near field communication, just to use GPS?? No thanks, Google. I'm sure at some point they will break navigation just like they have to several other services in an attempt to force me into further consolidation of their data aggregation, as this is essentially what they have done in several other instances.

I'll pass, and in effect I've been transitioning away from Google services for awhile. It's kind of annoying to have to change my mobile OS, but I don't invest in any platform specific apps anyways so it won't really be hard just annoying.

There are just not many great choices: iPhone with their superior offering in terms of stability, but inferior in terms of hardware and to a substantially lesser extent, capability. Meh perhaps. Windows Phone? Maybe, idk though. I'd much rather hold out on that one at this time... By far, the hardest think to find a replacement for a Google service is search itself. Bing has improved time and time again, but I do a lot of research on the web and probably 1/3 times Bing works fine. I use it first almost always at home but for work its difficult.

I understand, there is at least a whole generation of people that gladly and/or unknowingly supply numerous vendors with TONS of their usage data in exchange for rudimentary services on a regular basis. But, with revelation about how our own government is aggregating and using our data, I get just as, if not more, concerned when the private sector can engage in comparable practices, no matter what their motivations are.

What chance do we have of establishing personal digital privacy rights when its vs the government when we offer it up so freely in the private sector?

None of this is to convince anyone to change from or hate Google. I just personally prefer not to use them for reasons such as this.


RE: Why?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2014 12:01:23 PM , Rating: 1
Google+ isn't a social network in practice, not at all. It's NOTHING like Facebook.

I use Hangouts every day, and I'm often oblivious to the fact that Google+ has anything to do with it. If anything, it just makes organization easier.

quote:
Just to cite another example of why I've been getting tired of Google for some time, in order to do a Maps app upgrade, I have to give Google new permission to read my contacts and control near field communication, just to use GPS??


And yet without this permission, I can't tell Google Now "Navigate, John's house." from wherever I am, and have it automatically do it for me.

It's not some creepy conspiracy to "steal" your information, Maps NEEDS access to your contacts to provide you better service.

I sure as hell don't want to go back to the old way of manually typing in every destination!


RE: Why?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2014 2:48:50 PM , Rating: 1
I honestly don't know why this is being voted down. I'm explaining the technical reason why Google apps want permission to access your contact list.

I ordered Chinese today for lunch. To do so I told Google Now "Call Golden China", and it dialed the number.

Without access to my contact list, that kind of functionality couldn't work.


RE: Why?
By NellyFromMA on 3/19/2014 4:21:00 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
It's not some creepy conspiracy to "steal" your information, Maps NEEDS access to your contacts to provide you better service.


I hesitate to respond, but thought I would make an attempt to clarify.

If I had to guess, you are being down-rated for alluding that because I have an OPINION on something that strays from yours, that I am somehow a "tin-hat wearer". Try making your point WITHOUT being offensive to the person you are replying to.

Aside from that, no doubt, the functionality you describe is there. However, there is no granular functionality based permission. When I grant an app permissions to these things, its all or nothing. There is no way for me to say "You can use my contacts for this, not that" for example.

If Google allowed me the ability to decide for myself what functionality I can and can't enable access to such and such a permission (such as contacts) without denying me access to the other functionality that doesn't require the elevated permissions (similar in a very broad sense to how UAC elevated app permission when functionality in an app requires it) then I'd feel a whole lot more interested in testing out the functionality you describe myself as it sounds cool.

However, because Google's reputation is a data-aggregate machine first with disregard for my privacy and a penchant for dangling functionality-carrots in exchange for a foot into my personal life, I hence am not interested at giving them ANYTHING they DONT need for the functionality I care about most, which in this case is navigation. Others clearly feel otherwise.

My whole point is it takes more than bells and whistles for me to give up my privacy. That's my personal view.

I don't think there's a "creepy conspiracy" and its offensive to suggest that to begin with. I just have something against companies trying to monetize my behaviors and develop what are essentially psychological profiles about me based on my internet usage regardless of what they offer me in return for it.


RE: Why?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2014 4:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Aside from that, no doubt, the functionality you describe is there. However, there is no granular functionality based permission. When I grant an app permissions to these things, its all or nothing. There is no way for me to say "You can use my contacts for this, not that" for example.


Nobody allows you to do this out of the box. Hell Apple doesn't even TELL you what the permissions of the apps you're installing are.

However you actually CAN do this with Android if you wish. I believe if you root your phone you can install App Opps and set your own granular permissions.

quote:
that I am somehow a "tin-hat wearer". Try making your point WITHOUT being offensive to the person you are replying to.


I honestly did not mean to give that impression of you at all. However I apologize.

quote:
My whole point is it takes more than bells and whistles for me to give up my privacy. That's my personal view.


I don't see this as a privacy issue. 90% of everyone's daily online activities go out in the clear. There has never been any true "privacy" generally with digital data.

I get that people have some misplaced notion that Google is doing something new and threatening, or somehow menacing, but that seems to be rooted mostly in ignorance.

The ENTIRE Internet functions on add revenue today. Otherwise we would have to actually pay to use the services and websites we frequent.

I wish you luck in finding a phone platform that utterly and completely respects your privacy, but to my knowledge that doesn't exist. It's simply the price we pay for the connected world we live in.


RE: Why?
By bsd228 on 3/19/2014 5:09:04 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
And yet without this permission, I can't tell Google Now "Navigate, John's house." from wherever I am, and have it automatically do it for me.


I already know how to get to John's house. And Mary's and the Chinese place. I don't need that "feature." Nothing prevents google maps from replying "please turn on contacts or else I can't do this for you."


RE: Why?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2014 7:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nothing prevents google maps from replying "please turn on contacts or else I can't do this for you."


It does.

quote:
I already know how to get to John's house.


Then you don't need GPS OR Maps. Not a valid criticism though, more like trolling.


RE: Why?
By bsd228 on 3/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By TSS on 3/19/2014 1:46:19 PM , Rating: 2
I've got little to add, but as far as searches go since you mentioned it i use: https://startpage.com/

It's like a proxy for google. It still uses their search backbone which supplies relevant results even without the data tracking. Simply because just about every website worth their salt have got special code to get higher in the rankings on google.

But it doesn't give your search data to google. They don't even store your IP adress. And it's configurable, which'll give you a simple URL to work from, nothing is saved. I've switched to that from google about a year ago and haven't looked back since. Only works on websearch though - image/video search doesn't really seem to work.


RE: Why?
By mik123 on 3/19/2014 3:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
If you're worried about privacy, why don't you just use incognito/private browsing?


RE: Why?
By tonyswash on 3/19/2014 4:39:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I have found a couple of services of Google's valuable outside of search, but I don't want to sign up to a social-networking service just to use them. Google Voice was one of them.


Google+ only looks like a social networking system but it's actually far more strategic than that. Google's entire business model is based on collecting data from what everyone is doing everywhere on the web (and beyond) and offering that data to purchasers of advertising. That's the only thing that Google makes any money from, it's what finances everything else they do. Collecting comprehensive and high quality data on who is using their services is absolutely central to the Google business model.

By building an obligatory Google+ sign in deep in to ever more of it's services Google can collect much more data about specific individuals and the ability to cross references your activity in different services (what you watch on Youtube, what you search for, what topics are in your emails, etc) greatly enhances the value of that data . It's why a Google+ sign is now part of doing almost anything (certainly anything of substance) in any of Google's services, it's why it keeps trying to get you to use your real name. Google wants everybody bundled up neatly into single IDs so that it can track what you are doing in a more systematic way.

I initially thought Google+ was just a desperate attempt to chase Facebook but it's actually much than that and is the result of some very clever strategic thinking.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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