Google Voice has done a good deal to legitimize VoIP in a lot of people’s minds, primarily by connecting a VoIP number to one of your existing numbers and by providing hours of comedic entertainment with Google Voice auto-transcribed voicemails. They’ve also offered some direct IP call delivery via Google Talk integration in a Gmail account. Google offers* this call integration via XMPP signaling.
There were several other services and device manufacturers that utilized the open nature of XMPP to reverse engineer the call setup on other devices, break your Google Voice number free from the forwarded/Gmail realm, and wire devices directly to your Google Voice number. You could wire up your trusty old Model 500 telephone to your fancy Google Voice number. One such company that got a lot of attention due to their ease of integration with Google Voice is Obihai. Obihai’s OBi 100, 110, and 202 ATAs can* easily integrate with your Google Voice number in just a few steps.
You may have noticed that Google doesn’t really talk about Google Voice any more. Back in May 2013, Google announced that they were merging all their different communications and messaging offerings into the single Google Hangouts platform. This moved the video, audio, and text chat functionalities all under one moniker. At the same time, it closed off the service as some older features have been dropped by the wayside for increased compatibility with the new Hangouts platform.
* This leads us to the qualifiers for the Google Voice XMPP integration with OBi devices. One Google Voice feature getting the axe is XMPP integration in Google Voice. Support for XMPP call delivery will shut off on May 15, 2014; one year to the day from Google’s first announcement of the new Hangouts platform.
This is going to kill off one of the major features of the OBi devices. If you have one of these devices, you may be marking your calendars right now for May 15, 2014, “Throw OBi in the garbage!” No! Stop! Not only should electronics not be disposed of in the regular garbage, you should hang onto that OBi for years to come.
Did you know that OBi device is actually a really good SIP-compatible ATA? In my experience the OBi has been one of the simplest to configure and most stable ATAs out there. You can keep using that OBi, you’ll just need to hook it up to your Flowroute account (click here if you don’t already have one). We offer DIDs across the US and Canada or you could even port your Google Voice DID to our network. Once you have your DID, you can see our OBI202 Configuration Guide in our Knowledgebase for the 4 easy steps to getting your OBi202 connected to your Flowroute account.
After all, even as technology marches forward, and old features become obsolete, your OBi and old POTS phone work as well as the day you first configured them. Hang onto your Webcor Zip Jumbo Button 767SW hooked up through your OBi202, because some phones just get better with age.