Google Voice VM now part of Android’s phone app

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Google Voice on Android 4.0 devices gained a new feature with a software update on Thursday, allowing users to listen to their Google voicemail directly in the native phone app. Voicemails will no longer be limited to the Google Voice app but instead will appear in the phone’s call log, just like standard carrier voicemails.

From the Google Mobile Blog:

Your voicemails will appear alongside your outgoing, incoming, and missed calls in your phone’s call log and you can just simply touch them to play them. You can slow down the playback of the message which is great for when someone is telling you their callback number, or you even speed playback up, so you can quickly listen to longer messages.

Although Google Voice is supported on multiple mobile platforms, it’s unlikely — if not impossible — that this type of integration will appear on iOS, Windows Mobile, or BlackBerry handsets. And for Google, that’s not a bad thing.

The company can keep integrating its products and services deeper into the Android platform, helping it to stand out from the crowd. While that sounds like an overrated benefit, some Android users are unwilling to leave the platform because of Google’s tight integration between its web services and Android handsets. Some have even stuck with Android mainly because of Google Voice, based on conversations I’ve had over the past year or two.

Bear in mind, however, that unless you have a stock Google Android 4.0 device, this feature may not work. That means devices with custom skins or reworked phone applications won’t be able to take advantage of the new feature. I’ve already seen one such report on Twitter, not long after news of the voicemail update broke.

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