Google Voice gets MMS support, hinting at a future merger with Hangouts


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Google has some good news for MMS fans who want to rely on Google Voice for their calling needs instead of the number supplied by their carrier. Unless all your friends and business associates are on Verizon, that is. Alex Wiesen, tech lead manager for Google Voice, announced via Google+ that Google Voice now supports MMS on many carrier networks across North America.

Google says it worked with nearly 100 carriers in the U.S. and Canada to bring MMS to Google Voice, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Canada, Rogers, and Telus.

The story behind the story: Google Voice’s support for MMS is a key bit of functionality that helps the service behave more like a regular phone number. With this support in place, it may indicate that Google will soon merge Voice into Hangouts to create one monolithic messaging app that covers voice calls, SMS, MMS, and chat. Rumors about a Google Voice-Hangouts merger surfaced earlier in 2014. Because Google Voice is still a U.S.-only service (while Hangouts is international), however, there may not be much point in integrating the two services just yet.

Where’s Verizon?

You may notice one big name missing from that list: Verizon. Google didn’t come out and explicitly say Verizon wasn’t participating. However, it’s also unlikely that Google decided to lump in the largest carrier in the United States with the anonymous “nearly 100” on the list.

Google Voice’s MMS integration went live late Monday, so it should be working for most users across the U.S. now—excluding Verizon numbers.

Adding MMS support is the latest new feature for Google Voice after integrating the service with Hangouts for Android in September. In July, Google also added Hangouts integration to the Google Voice website.

Google’s recent flurry of Google Voice tweaks may not be over yet. In his Google+ post, Wiesen said to expect more Google Voice messaging improvements in the future.

If MMS support means you're now ready to go full Google Voice, check out our tutorial on how to use Google Voice with Hangouts.

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