Google just can’t seem to make friends with Windows Phone. The latest crackdown will come in May 2014 when the search giant begins to enforce its terms-of-service for its Google Voice service, barring third-party companies from making apps.
Google Voice, which used to be Grand Central before it was bought, is a one-number-service that allows users to have a single phone number to ring all of their phones—landline or cellular. It also allows users to protect their real number by giving out their Google Voice digits instead as well as send “free” text messages, since the service utilizes data.
Up until recently, third party developers could tap into the service, releasing their own apps. On Android or iOS, the demand for such solutions is quite low due to both platforms having official options for users. However, since Google shuns everything that is Windows Phone, there is no official Google Voice app for Microsoft’s OS. As a result, developers have created solutions, including the top-rated MetroTalk app to fill in the gap.
But last week, Nikhyl Singhal, who is product manager in the Google+ team, commented on the future status of the service:
“Finally, we want to make Google Voice as secure as possible. There are a few third-party applications that provide calling and SMS services by making unauthorized use of Google Voice. These apps violate our Terms of Service and pose a threat to your security, so we’re notifying these app developers that they must stop making unauthorized use of Google Voice to run their services and transition users by May 15, 2014.”
As such, the developer behind MetroTalk has posted a response, noting that as a result of Google’s new change of heart, MetroTalk will be discontinued next year:
“We are sad to announce that after a request by Google, MetroTalk will be removed from the Windows Phone store on May 1, 2014. We apologize to all our users for this but the decision is beyond our control, and in fact affects all third-party Google Voice apps. The good news is that the app will remain available and fully functional for 6 more months, and you can expect bug fix updates during that time. A huge thank you to all of our users for making us one of the top downloaded and highest rated apps of the Windows Phone store. Once again, we truly apologize to everyone affected by this.”
Indeed, it is sad to see MetroTalk get the axe at Google’s request. Even more so since we don’t know if Google will release their own solution for Windows Phone users. If Google does not, then they are once again royally screwing those on Windows Phone by denying the use of their service.
A few of us here at Mobile Nations use Google Voice due to having many smartphones on different carriers. Having “one number” to call all our phones, regardless of which we take with us, is a huge benefit to Google’s service. Without it, things will be quite difficult.
Will Google step up and finally release apps for their services on Windows Phone? There’s no sign that they will, but we’ll wait and see.