Your Third-Party Google Voice Apps Will Stop Working May 2014

| November 4, 2013 | 5 Replies


Google Voice is finally getting some attention from the Mountain View company. Voice is getting rolled in to Hangouts in early 2014, according this G+ post from Nikhyl Singhal. Google is also going to be killing all support and cutting off any third-party apps that use Voice for free texting and VoIP calling. As of May 15th, 2014, any Voice functionality built in to these apps will cease to function.

Google is shuttering the XMPP interface that these alternate Voice apps are using. XMPP is an open protocol that allows for multiple instant messaging networks to work with each other. Google severely deprecated XMPP support in Hangouts last May, when Hangouts replaced Talk. Alternative chat apps can still send and receive messages, but additional features like group messaging and video chat no longer work. Third-party Voice apps won’t even get that little bit of leeway. Support for them will simply be cut off next May.

This will affect any apps that make and receive VoIP calls, as well as send and receive SMS messages using Voice. That means that users of GrooVeIP, OBiTalk, and others will have to find another service to piggyback off of. The maker of GrooVeIP, snrb Labs, posted a message about this on their Facebook page yesterday. GrooVeIP is essentially dead-in-the-water, with development on the app being shuttered. The most recent version of the app, version 1.4.6, was released yesterday. snrb Labs will continue to release bug fixes if critical issues arise, but the app won’t see any development beyond that. Next May when Google locks down Voice, GrooVeIP will cease to function.

There have long been questions about whether or not these third-party apps violate the Voice Terms of Service, but Google has not addressed the issue. For years, Google Voice seemed to stagnate while other Google apps and services were updated. Most users assumed that Google would turn its attention to services that piggy-backed on Voice, and now they have. Google is stating that they need to secure the Hangouts service and that these apps violate their Terms of Service, so they are cutting them off.

If you use Voice for texts and calling, those features will be rolled in to Hangouts. Hangouts on iOS already has voice calling. Your Voice number will also continue to work as normal. If you are using a Google Voice number and a third-party service to get free text or VoIP calling, you’ll need to find an alternative before May 15th of next year.

Category: Android App News

About Jeremiah Nelson ()

Jeremiah Nelson has loved Android since the OG Moto DROID. He spends his free time listening to metal and flashing new ROMs.
  • Greg Lee

    I think many of us who use third-party apps, that are based on Google Voice, knew free wouldn’t last forever. Currently, I use Talkatone and ObiTalk. I know ObiTalk isn’t going anywhere. ObiTalk’s big selling point was free calls through GV but it doesn’t need GV to continue to operate. There are hundreds of ITSP (Internet telephony service provider) that it can connect to (they may not be free but most are definitely low cost). Talkatone may be a different story however. Their blog says they have new product(s) in beta. So I’ll wait and see what they put out there.

    I’m not worried about loosing GV “connectivity.” In fact, I’m glad of it… I rely too much on Google products as is.

    • AJ

      I hope they overcome this greedy Google move with some new third-party apps

      • Greg Lee

        “Greedy” might be a little strong. I think some times we forget Google is a for-profit public corporation. They are in business to make money. But it would be nice if they freely helped the smaller companies along occasionally. And if they got rid of the mantra, “Do no evil.” That went out the window long ago.

  • brian

    I have ported my cell to gv. If I use viber out will that work or do I need move my number somewhere else. It was nice using my tablet as only mobile.

  • brian

    I currently use talkatone and gv btw.