Google Voice Shutdown 2014: Unauthorized Apps To Get The Ax

Google Voice is getting a facelift in 2014. The tech giant announced on Thursday that it will remove access to its service from any unauthorized apps by non-trusted Google providers.

In a post written by Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal, he revealed three changes that users will want to follow.

First, the latest Hangouts app will only work with Google Voice numbers on enabled Sprint phones. Second, Google Voice will crack down on third-party apps that use the service without Google approval. Third, Google is seeking to enable Voice numbers to work outside of the US, while also supporting MMS (multimedia messaging).

Earlier in the week, Google announced some big updates for Hangouts, specifically the integration of SMS and MMS. The new messaging features were expected to arrive for Google Android phones on Thursday, but only for users with Google Voice numbers on Google Voice enabled Sprint phones. By early 2014, most major US carriers are expected to support Google Voice MMS. Google must work directly with each carrier to support SMS capabilities, which explains the late launch for other US carriers.

Google says in its blog post that cracking down on third-party applications will be a big step, moving forward. The company is specifically concerned with calling and SMS services that are leeched off its network for use in other applications not belonging to Google. The search giant offers its Google Voice API for use. However, it will require that each developer's app receive approval. Google will limit third-party application use starting May 15, 2014.

Google is launching a checks and balances system to ensure that third-party developers follow its rules. The company will also likely turn off API access for Google Voice and approve third-party developers because they can move forward with the platforms use.