Google's unified Hangouts was introduced by Google last Wednesday during Google I/O, combining all of Google's chat services into one - except for Voice. It's not clear why Voice was left out right out of the gates, leaving many to speculate about its death.
Luckily, Google product manager Nikhyl Singhal has confirmed that better Google Voice support is on its way to Hangouts, indicating it will be sticking around. Singhal didn't go into specifics on when functionality would be making its way to the unified messenger, but he made it sound enticing.
However, life for Google Voice under the "Google Voice" name may not continue forever, but the functionality sounds like it will remain. "Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning," Singhal noted. "Future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly."
Additionally, the product manager said outbound and inbound calls from the web version of Gmail using the Chrome extension would soon return. For now, you'll only be able to receive inbound calls to your Google Voice number. "We're working hard on supporting both, and outbound/inbound calls will soon be available," Singhal said. "In the meantime, you can continue using Google Talk in Gmail."
It sounds like Google has big plans for Hangouts. Last week Dori Storbeck, Google+ community manager of Hangouts and Chat, confirmed in a thread on Google+ that SMS integration would indeed be coming to the platform.
Right now, Hangouts covers the full-spectrum of Google, replacing Google Talk and extending itself across all services. Available for iOS and Android, the apps have been designed by Google to allow people to communicate with each other across platforms over the internet without worrying what type of message to use, or what device their contact may own. It can be used to video call, talk, text, share photos and much more.