Google Voice, Hangouts and a way forward

Hi folks,

I’ve been a long long time Google Voice user (21 years now), heck I used the service when it was put out by a company called GrandCentral which was purchased by Google and transformed into what became Voice. Its a service that I have gotten a huge amount of traction out of. The ability to have the same number for 20+ years despite moving 4 times in 2 states with 5 different landline phones, 8 different mobile providers sometimes managing to port a number but often as not finding that not worthwhile has been a very stabilizing thing. I love that I still have custom groups of people who get their own customized voice mail greeting based on who they are rather than everyone getting the same old message.

All that said, Google’s changes to the Voice interface, the forced Hangouts integration and now apparently within the year an un-integration coming is making me look to see if there really is a competing product I can migrate to.

Over the years I have looked and in truth Voice is the one thing that has kept me using more of the Google eco-system than anything else. I can get the email anywhere but the level of scheduling the call forwarding and the legacy voice mail message system (I haven’t tried to set up new boxes in awhile but the last I did the UI for it is rather wonky and seems to work on an odd unholy marriage between Google Voice and Contacts. I do know my old boxes have remained working correctly for 20 years but god help me if I try and define a new one. At times I have have hardware boxes from Cisco and others that have let me do voodoo of having a regular pushbutton telephone on one end making my SIP/Voip calls both inbound and outbound though at present I use either cell phones or a headset and web based Hangouts calls mostly these days. Much of the SIP Middleware is no longer viable/supported since Google closed their Voice API so much and the providers on those boxes that integrated with general VOIP providers just really aren’t that great call quality wise these days.

At any rate does anyone know of a viable replacement in the VOIP space these days that offers the voicemail and call forwarding features Voice had? I am not sure if I will be able to port my Voice number away but I do hope so since its been what I have used as my central phone number for 20 years. If I have to drop to just using cell phones I am going to be annoyed since most of the basic cells today have decent enough smart phone features but the very core basic ability to make and receive phone calls seem to me just to suck either from their microphones and/or speakers built into the units. I have a Moto G6-Play that is a decent enough phone but it is hard to use as a headset and I have yet to find a bluetooth for it that I actually has both the comfort and call quality I want.

Is there anyone else in a similar boat and have jumped the Google ship where did you land as far as these sorts of services?


So okay last I check on this the best alternative for people who are privacy oriented and anti google was to run and pay for your own VOIP service from a provider. Then the software can always redirect to your phone and stuff like what you speak of. This requires building your own PBX and registering the numbers with a VOIP provider. It may also require additional hardware. Though im pretty sure all android phones have a way to route SIP.


Im perfectly fine managing all of that locally on my android without the need or help of google.

Maybe this is a place to start. I know some people who have done it successfully.

ultimately google does it for free. Nothing really comes for free. The cost is you must use their services. When one hears the word free they should always immediately think. Its time for a thorough investigation lol

Overall the ultimate point is. At the current state its nearly impossible to beat google’s infrastructure in a free open source privacy oriented way.

So i just learned about this service on a The Privacy, Security, & OSINT Show podcast i listen too, it might fit your use case.

Asterisk is a whole PBX sorta DIY Box that acts as middleware for a whole lot of stuff. Its quite complex to install, setup and maintain. In past years I did some early installs for a Law Office I did some consulting for and as I recall they used it for about 4 years before shifting to a commercial VOIP Provider that offered features in a simpler to administer fashion.

It is a possible solution but for my home use not really a good one given the administration time it would require.

Thanks for the suggestion though.