Google updates Voice with Canadian functionality, but not Canadian availability

Google Voice

After years of neglect, Google has updated Voice, its call-and-voicemail-forwarding platform, with a fresh new design and additional functionality.

By the company’s own admission, this marks the first time it has updated Voice in any significant way in more than five years —  the previous version of the app, which was available to download as recently as this weekend, let users enter a time warp with its Android 4.0-inspired design language.

Besides bringing Voice’s user interface in-line with Google’s other mobile and web offerings, the update adds long overdue functionality like support for group conversations, photo MMS messages and Spanish language voicemail transcriptions.

While Voice is still unavailable in Canada (we’ve asked Google whether it now plans to bring the service to Canada), the updated app has some functionality that applies to Canada.

Specifically, sending MMS photo messages works only when done between two U.S. numbers or a U.S. number and a Canadian one. Google Voice users can now receive photos from a Bell, Freedom Mobile, Telus, Rogers or Videotron number.

Moreover, in an interview with The Vergea Google spokesperson told the website the company is working on adding RCS messaging support to the platform. Once this functionality is live within the app, Canadians that have an Android smartphone with either Rogers or Fido will be able to take advantage of the protocol’s next generation messaging features — typing indicators and read receipts, among other ones — when texting a friend or family member in the U.S. that has Google Voice.

While it’s not an indication the platform will come to Canada, Google has promised it will keep Voice updates coming at a “regular” cadence moving forward.

If you have a U.S. number, you can download Google Voice on Android and iOS. In an email to MobileSyrup, Google confirmed that Google Voice is “still U.S. only” and that the company has nothing to announce regarding bringing the service to Canada.

[source]Google[/source][via]The Verge[/via]