Google Voice is testing voice over internet protocol calls, or VoIP. Beta sign-ups are now live, and Google has detailed the forthcoming feature that'll allow users to place and receive calls via Wi-Fi or data.
Those types of calls will soon be possible through mobile and web clients, according to a recent post on the Google Voice forums. With this feature, users will be able to make calls using their Google Voice number from multiple devices provided they have the app installed.
Google will bring this feature to major platforms, including the web and Android. iOS support, however, is still currently in development.
How To Sign Up For Google Voice Beta
Joining Google's beta program for Voice is easy. Just fill out a form, make sure your Google Voice app is updated, and wait for an email containing additional instructions. Google will also notify users once Wi-Fi calling becomes available. Once it is, users will be advised to test the feature and provide feedback when prompted.
Don't Get Excited Yet
There are, however, some caveats worth mentioning. Firstly, Google says Obihai devices won't work with calls over Wi-Fi. Also, users won't be able to use incoming call options when calling over Wi-Fi or mobile data. For the web client, Wi-Fi calling only works on Chrome for now, though Google has confirmed that it plans to extend the functionality to other web browsers, including Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
Some limitations involving Bluetooth are also present, like not being able to use physical controls on a Bluetooth device to answer or drop calls. Users also can't enter earpiece mode when a Bluetooth device is paired. Also, there's a chance calls might get dropped when switching from Bluetooth and speakerphone.
The above mentioned caveats are real bummers, but keep in mind that this is just a beta test, the purpose of which is to help iron out the kinks and lead to a much more stable version of the feature. But enrolling in the beta program could be worth a try for users who want to see how well calls over Wi-Fi or data via Google Voice works.
Google has failed to mention a specific roadmap for Google Voice's Wi-Fi calling abilities, so suffice it to say that it remains uncertain exactly when this feature will roll out to most users. Still, take this beta test as a good sign that it's coming soon, perhaps even this year if things pan out.