Google prepares to pull the shutters on legacy Voice
It appears that today’s victim of the Chocolate Factory axeman is legacy Google Voice for personal accounts.
To be fair, and despite Google’s apparent delight at killing off services, this one has been on the cards for a while, certainly since the company overhauled the user interface in 2017 with its “modern experience.”
However, some users have stuck with the legacy web version of Voice despite warnings that bits of it would stop working in 2020. In July, the company said in a not-at-all-threatening manner:
“If you are not already using the new website UI, now would be a great time to get accustomed to it.”
The legacy web version of Google Voice is to be phased out from the middle of next month and, in a manner familiar to those who have spent the last few years grumbling over what Microsoft did to Skype, not everything is going to be carried over to what Google calls “the new experience”.
For example, the Do Not Disturb Timer is going away, as is Ring Scheduling. You’ll need to update to a full numbered Voice account for voicemail-only. Being a US service, credit balances will be converted to US dollars when the balance drops below 0.50 and auto-recharging in other currencies will be disabled. Call Notes, which were removed from the legacy web version in 2020, will be wiped after 31 March 2022.
Also potentially painful for holdouts is the fate of Carrier Call Forwarding, which is missing from Google’s brave new world. “It will still be possible to forward calls from another carrier to your Google Voice number,” said Google in a message to users, “however, all carrier forwarded calls from your linked number will go directly to voicemail.”
Register reader Anthony Remmers drew our attention to the retirement, and noted that Google was euthanising “yet another useful feature that I regularly use.”
“GV has been on life support for years,” he added, “and I was hoping the mothership was just too busy to look this way and put the old girl down.”
The changes don’t affect Google Voice for Google Workspace. However, while the new Voice has a few whizzy features of its own, the fact that not all of legacy Voice has survived the transition will frustrate some users.
As Remmers observed: “Seems like I should’ve learned years ago to not depend on obscure use cases of free services.” ®