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Google announced it’s adding new caller ID, missed call, and SMS message features to Google Voice on Wednesday. The otherwise minor update is notable because Google Voice has fallen to the wayside while Google focused on other messaging boondoggles.
From the missed calls or voicemail sections of the mobile Google Voice app, you can now learn why you might have missed a call (for example, Do Not Disturb was on), and receive directions on how to make sure that doesn’t happen again (turning Do Not Disturb off). Google is also making it easier to redial dropped calls and switch to your mobile network if your Wi-Fi connection was the reason your call failed.
If you use Google Voice on iOS to forward calls to your personal number, now you can have the app display your Google Voice number on caller ID rather than the original linked number. SMS messages can now be deleted in bulk on the web version of Google Voice as well.
Google’s various attempts to connect people outside of Gmail have long been somewhat confused — we’ve even made a timeline of the journey so far — but Voice, in particular, has felt forgotten in the wake of Google Fi offering a more traditional phone service. Voice received a redesign in 2018, and a dark mode in 2020, but as a business-oriented Workspace product, it hasn’t really received as many dramatic evolutions as Google’s wild stabs at text and video chats. For the committed Google Voice user not at risk of forgetting the service exists, that might be for the best.