New policy for Google Voice means an end to MetroTalk for Windows Phone

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.

Source: MetroTalk

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Screw scroogle
  • ^ THIS
  • This really is a shame. Google used to be the cool service company. Not so much anymore.
  • Google used to accuss Microsoft of its 'close-ness'...Now Google is repeating what MS did while MS is adopting open standard.
  • I know, right?
  • "Open"
  • The only thing I use google for is ytube. If they cut that too, I can see microsoft cutting skype and other products for android and that will definitely not be good for end user.
  • Nope, Microsoft wont cut anything. Scared with their 1990s suits and too much money to lose by blocking Skype. If anything it will give extra features to others first than WP.
  • Losing Skype customer is a real reasomn they might not do this, but the 1990 suit would not be a reason. First, they don't have a monopoly on cell phones. Second, they would be responding to actions of a competiton. Actually, Google should pay attention to the 1990's lawsuit. They are a near monopoly and the DOJ has already been investigating them on various issues.
  • Microsoft and apple already file a lawsuit against android saying that violating patents, so here we are ...lets see wat happens in nuclear war.....haha
  • Exactly what I don't understand. Can't blame Google - they are trying to crush WP. Get rid of the weaker competition. So why the fuck doesn't MS go after them! These are predatory acts. They are trying to eliminate competition. Their reach on the internet and tech is huge and they are leveraging that in the way ATT, MS, Standard Oil and others have. All of these were broken or fined.
  • It seems to be universally true that Microsoft can't get away with anything. If they miss or do something wrong the world goes after them, but if any other company do nasty stuff then nothing happens because they are not Microsoft.
  • Google doesn't have 99% of the market like Windows in the nineties - except for search maybe, but that is available on Windows Phone.
  • I think you are missing the point, all of googles moves have been to stragically disadvantage Windows Phone (clearly evident by the youtube saga), no doubt these will be coming quicker and quicker as WP share continues to rise as shown by the latest Kantar figures. Although there have been some dips, but that is given as the mobile world is not static it is extremely volatile.
  • Of course they are, but I just don't really see why Google would want to dedicate resources to an OS that could threaten Android's position. It sucks for the users, but you gott think from the business position.
  • 4% vs 80% - you do the math of how that is threatening at all? This is Google being a real Google. "Do no evil" my ass.
  • Well they still see its potential I guess. But even then you're fighting a losing fight because WP isn't big enough for Google to make proper apps. Google is a company, that's my point - they don't want to do things that would threaten them.   And the first post was just a reply saying that Google not is a singluar entity like the person I replied to made it out to be.
  • They wouldn't. Microsoft wanted to crush chrome and the other browsers as well so they could use IE as the portal to the internet. Companies act in their self interest. When a company has to much power in a market and starts using that power to undercut competition in other markets, thats when the government needs to step in an smack the company upside the head and say no.
  • Google doesn't owe Windows Phone its apps.
  • no - it owes those that use it's services those apps.  It is obligated to provide me with a means to access my information in any way I choose.  Be it WP8, IOS, IE, WINXP, Chrome.  This is why standards are so important and why Google wants to control all of the standards.  They are clearly a monopoly and as such needs to be regulated. 
  • I'm half with you -- Google should look out for its customers, and that's why it should care about apps on other platforms, if that would help its customers. However, there is no reason for the government to get involved. If Google is screwing enough of its users, they will leave Google for friendlier pastures. One of the reasons MS is still suffering market resentment now is because of their business practices over a decade ago. Google may well be setting itself up for a similar long period of market resentment. Government involvement will only screw things up and unfairly choose favorites. Leave it up to us, the users, and the free market. Having said that, note that another reason Google sucks is because users are not their customers. Advertisers are their customers. From that perspective, what they are doing is good for their customers -- don't let ad viewers leave the Google ecosystem, or their advertisers will reach fewer eyeballs. That's all fine and good for them, but it's one more reason why I won't use any Google products (if I can help it, I admit I still use YouTube) and I urge others to avoid them like the plague. But that's not the same as wanting the heavy hand of government to shove itself up the market's ass and start causing much bigger problems.
  • yet they have their heads so far up apple's rear... let's just face the facts. they are doing anything in their power to stop windows phone
  • you are replying to a comment from like five years ago gosh
  • Actually, it's 5 months...
  • Microsoft had about 90%. Google, in the form of Android has over 80% of the cellphone market, around 70% of the search market, and youtube probably has over 80% of the video hosting market. Plus Google gives away products to undercut their competition and making money on the back end through advertising. Google is way more dangerous than Microsoft ever was.
  • I haven't really seen Google do many horrible things other than not make apps for Windows Phone and locking down APIs (you know, just like MS did with Skype)
  • Google was sued a few years ago in Europe for pricing their maps service below cost in an attempt to defeat the competition.
  • They wouldn't enhance google maps on the iPhone to include turn by turn directions forcing apple to create it's own map system. Once apple maps came out Google updated maps to include turn by turn. The do things like that pretty regularly.
  • WP has the umbrella and force of Microsoft protecting it... It will continue to grow until MS says otherwise. So eventually Google will be forced to develop for it otherwise they will look like the bad guys in everyone's eyes.
  • Already MS and apple filed a lawsuit against google check out
  • Although I would understand MS reasons for that, I hope they don't go that low. However, if they do that and say you bring your apps to WP, then we will bring our apps back ... I would be okay with that.
  • I don't like Google... Well, YouTube is Awsome❕❗❕❗.. But, Google Sux...
  • NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Rudy can probably make it. :P
  • +6
  • +1520
  • He probably could but it would work until the cut off date as indicated the article as the shakedown is for all third party apps.
  • After that, one could always reverse-engineer the service and build an app, like they did with the Google+ app.
  • Scroogled!
  • Every time I see Google in an article, I know that its never going to be good. Even when the Youtube app comes out, I'll see the cover picture and immediately get mad at Google lol
  • So lame
  • Google = bag of dicks
  • bag of tiny dicks.
  • bag of nano dicks!
  • bag of pussies
  • Bag of tight pussies
  • Assuming you're a dude, wouldn't that be a *good* thing? 
  • Google is just an old bag.. Period. With tits up to it's knees.
  • Then they can flip it to the back and wear bra like a camel!
  • Good thread
  • Thatnka for ruining it haha
  • C-C-C-C-Combo breaker
  • Google = shit heads
  • That was hilarious!
  • Google = big titties with no nipples.
  • Oooo he said google ain't got no nipples!!!
  • Sigh. Looks like I need to consider whether I even need an alternative.
  • Yep
  • Then use Skype. Google is the devil.
  • Skype is not a viable alternative to Google Voice.
  • If you have a skype in number,then does that not work the same or similar? Microsoft needs to step up and offer a competitive alternate service to Google voice!
  • Yeah, I haven't used Google Voice but to be fair Skype In sounds like a pretty similar solution. I have it and all my Skype devices ring at once when someone calls the number; first device to answer it gets the call.
  • No. Not at all. In any way.
  • Skype doesn't let all your phones, landline or cellular, ring at once. And yes, MS does but that would take too long.
  • "For your security" is the new "think of the children" - in the majority of cases, a lame excuse.
  • That's just sad. Luckily I have unlimited texting so I seldom use the service anymore. Any word on devices like obi1xo that use GVoice as a home phone solution?
  • Yep, that will be broken too. Obihai posted on their site about it.
  • Fawewwwk
  • now that sucks...
  • You know who possess a threat to my security......Google that's who!
  • It's funny how everyone at google is terified of Windows Phone to such an extreme. Let those little pricks run scared we don't need them anyway. And I hope the Rockstar Alience destroys Android through patent litigation and puts an end to Google screwing over not just consumers but patent holders as well.  
  • ^^This
  • This. So hard
  • I don't think google is terrified of windows phone, not when android has like 80% of world wide market share. No, this is them just being pure petty and kicking Microsoft whenever they get the chance.
  • Marketshare comes and goes, just because they have 80% now does not mean that can't all change in a few years if Microsoft plays its cards right.  
  • Actually they are, because Windows Phone is getting new smartphones owners to switch to Microsoft's operating system, which also have very cheap handsets. What good is that to Google if Windows Phone is grabbing all the new people? By blocking Google products, they are 'trying' to grab consumers to buy their Android products. We've seen it with Instagram not being on the OS and review sites like CNET giving a low rating simply because Instagram isn't there. If you tell a brand new customer "oh, there's no google maps, no google voice, no gmail, no youtube", they will go to Android because they're too stubborn or don't know anything about Windows Phone.
  • Its not market share, its cold war, apple and MS jointly filed a law suit for banning android
  • Because every single engineer at Google wanted this.
  • The most CLOSED open source ever.
  • ^This
  • Google is open....right. They are skynet!!!
  • Just watched that movie last night!
  • Google, you can kiss my BING.
  • Skype is your better alternative here, anyway. Google...I used to love your company. But your business practices in lieu of this are just unreasonable, petty, and bullish. I don't support bullying!
  • I agree. I used to think that Google was the cool alternative to Apple. Not so much anymore. I'm glad I made the switch. :)
  • Will it work in IE on the phone?
  • If it works now, I don't see why it wouldn't after this since you're directly connecting to their servers via the internet. I doubt they'd be able to block Internet Explorer specifically, especially since that would probably prevent the desktop version from accessing them as well (that's just a guess since I've heard that the two versions of the program are pretty similar).
  • They can detect mobile vs desktop, so they could block it if they wanted like they downgraded Google Maps on WP earlier this year.
  • Wtf man...
  • Who cares ???
  • I care.
  • Daniel...  I don't use Google Voice, or anything Google besides YouTube videos accessed via links from sites like WPCentral.  However, it would be an interesting article comparing Google Voice to Skype.  What does Google Voice have that Skype doesn't?  Since Skype is like Netflix, in that it can be found on almost every platform and form factor (albeit with varying degrees of functionality), why wouldn't Skype be the better alternative?  Whatever the perceived gaps, I hope they can fill those gaps to give people a better choice than Google Voice.
  • I care, and I cannot believe how google is closing all windows/phone doors and it is so "open" with iOS. The excuse for market share is starting to expire, so what are they going to say?
  • Wouldn't Skype work as an alternative?
  • I can't see why not. You can even get a Skype #, but it cost about $5 a month I think. Skype to Skype is still free though...
  • Microsoft should make a skype number free and use the google voice shut down on WP as a great marketing opportunity for both Skype and WP.    
  • This is a great marketing opportunity for MS. I hope they take it. They seem to be afraid of doing anything but low-profile web campaigns... unless they're comparing to Apple. Google is a far more despicable and dangerous adversary than Apple -- Apple just wants to make the products it wants and then hopes that lots of people will want to use them. Google is actively trying to cause problems for its users if they happen to also be Windows users in the hope that they will side with Google and ditch MS altogether.
  • Well I ditched Google alltogether; hope others do the same and then we can laught how that brilliant strategy of alienating users worked out for them in five years time.  
  • No.
  • They need people to use their services to get paid. That's why they are so quick to buddy up to apple. But apple has been trying to eliminate the need for the users to rely on google services. That's (one reason) why apple maps was so bad. They rushed it.
  • If Microsoft offers the free number to WP users, and others things exclusively to his platform users they can get a big advantage of this! And more people can migrates to WP!
  • Offering WP users a free Skype number would be awesome. I think it costs me $60/year right now. I use it specifically to forward numbers. Minutes still would cost so the bean counters would be happy.
  • Google, why do you have to be so darned stupid?
  • Skype
  • Skype!
  • Knew this was coming. I used to use metroTalk on wp7...
  • Anti trust and anti competition, where's the lawsuits?
  • Not to mention Tax evasion in the UK!!
  • I don't know much about the law in this regard, but I have been wondering the same things for a while too.
  • I guess you can't stop them making their API private again. It's not really anti-competitive because they also block any third-party apps on Android, iOS and Desktop.
  • The difference is though that Google Voice has official clients for Android, iOS and Desktop but Windows Phone doesn't!!
  • Oh yes, I completely agree there. I'm just commenting on whether it could be considered anti-competitive. In this case we simply see lack of support for a smaller platform, rather than outright blocking one platform specifically.
  • Right. Google is terrible. I boycott as many of their features as I can (basically everything except YouTube and the Terrain topographic view on Google Maps -- as far as I know, Bing doesn't yet support a contour lines view for altitudes), but that's not the same as saying I want various world governments to start meddling. They'll just be picking one business to win over another, and that's far worse than anything Google is doing.
  • What is google voice anyway :) ? ... I even stopped posting on youtube, 'cuz they forced me to sign up for google+ service.
  • Fuck u google!!!!
  • I will be google free by that time... I suggest everyone do the same. I only have Gmail for all the non important emails, but since its non important I shall delete it.
  • Do it now... ;-)
  • I'm almost completely Google free, just need to transfer some services from Gmail to my address and then it's bye bye Google!!
  • Well, I got rid of my Gmail address a while ago. And now that Bing is finally out of beta in my country, it will hopefully become better. Regarding Google voice - I've never heard of it (not even sure what you can do with it), so there will be nothing to be missed for me.
  • I couldn't edit my first post but I'm now google free, just transferred the last of my accounts from my gmail address!!
  • Funny how opposite poles have similar thoughts .-. From Microsoft I only have Hotmail for all the non important emails and that godamn Skype because friends.... but once I can get rid of it I will delete my Hotmail in a second as well .-.
  • Every time I hear about Google, it gets worse and worse.  I used to like them but now I hate them.   F-U Google a bazillionjillion times    
  • ^^ So much for"transparency.
  • Just don't mention Google on WPCentral any longer. I don't use Google for anything. Don't need them.
  • Scrogle no its screwgoogle!!! I have been discontinuing my use of google and will be google free by year end!
  • Me too, in fact, I've switched all of my browsers to run Bing. The final straw for me was when they started to filter out anything to do with knives and guns from shopping searches. (some of my other hobbies include target shooting and knife collecting).
  • Google=douche bag
  • Anyone know if this will block DIY PBX servers
  • Goddamnit!!!!! The one service without a comparable alternative!  Now what the hell are we supposed to do? I'm sure as hell not switching to an Android phone now!    
  • Why is Skype not a viable alternative?
  • Skype is a video-calling/VoIP service. GV is a visual-voicemail, phone call management system.   They're not even the same type of service, apples to oranges.
  • I thought that as well, Euell, until recently. Skype does have a lot more features now, though I'm not sure it's a direct alternative to every feature of Google Voice. Here:
  • Why not just not usw it anymore? I've never even heard of google voice ... What's so special about it that it will be missed do much?
  • Go after carriers, like at&t for lying about "unlimited" data plans!
  • Can't miss what you never had.
  • Looks like a new market for someone to create this service without discrimination to platform...
  • Hm ... Am I the only one who has never heard of that Service?
  • Yes.
  • lol
  • What's so funny about it? It was a serious question, as reading this article actually introduced me to the fact that this service exists. M
    Meanwhile, I've ecen asked some friends, and none of them has heard about it. (I'm in Switzerland btw).
    I wonder if Google voice is one of those services that is only widespread in certain areas.
  • Sorry I by default thought you are from US. You are right this service is basically popular in US thn anywhere else.
  • No worries, thanks for your feedback.
    Just saw my comment is full of typos. I shouldn't comment before my first coffee. Sigh.