Tag Archives: Google Voice

Dailing Faster With Google Voice on Android and Blackberry Devices

Google is always obsessed with speed. Their mantra is faster = better. This is true for their Google Voice mobile apps as well. When you want to make a call, your phone should connect you as quickly as possible, whether you’re calling via Google Voice or not.

Today they are launching an enhancement to the Google Voice mobile app on Android and Blackberry phones, which makes placing calls much faster. They call this feature “direct access numbers.” Here’s how it works:

Until today, the Google Voice app had to make a request to the Google Voice server every time you wanted to make a call to send us the phone number you wanted to dial. Then the call would be connected via a Google Voice access number. With direct access numbers, Google assign a unique phone number to every person you call. This means that they no longer need to use your data network to access the server each time you make a call, so calls will be placed much faster.

The updated Android app is available from Android Market starting today. For Blackberry users, you can download the app by visiting http://m.google.com/voice from your mobile device. You will need a valid Google Voice account to use the app, and at this time, Google Voice is available in the US only.

Google Voice for everyone

A little over a year ago, Google released an early preview of Google Voice, Google’s web-based platform for managing your communications. Google introduced  one number to ring all your phones, voicemail that works like email, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, low-priced international calls and more—the only catch was you had to request and receive an invite to try it out. Today, after lots of testing and tweaking, they are excited to open up Google Voice to the public, no invitation required.

Over the past year, Google has introduced a mobile web app, an integrated voicemail player in Gmail, the ability to use Google Voice with your existing number and more. Over a million of you are now actively using Google Voice, and many of the features released over the last year (like SMS to email and our Chrome extension) came as a result of users suggestions.

If you haven’t yet tried Google Voice, just dont wait try it out and give your valueable feedback. Check out Google’s revamped features page to learn about everything Google Voice can do, and if you haven’t seen it yet, this video provides a good overview in less than two minutes:

Google feel proud of the progress they’ve made with Google Voice over the last few years, and they are still just scratching the surface of what’s possible when you combine your regular phone service with the latest web technology. It’s even more amazing to think about how far communication has come over the last couple hundred years. To put things in context, Google created this infographic to visualize some recent history of human communication and how Google Voice uses the web to help people communicate in more ways than ever before.

GVdialer puts Google Voice on your mobile handset

Google’s mobile site for Google Voice is a nice gateway solution while Google’s team works on a more integrated mobile offering, but it leaves plenty to be desired. Having to click or poke your way through your browser each time you want to make a call can be a pain to say the least. As such, it was only a matter of time before a third-party developer answered the call, so to speak, and worked out a better way to use Google’s service on mobile phones. We’re sure you see where we’re going with this by now… Mobile Max recently introduced a beta version of its app, GVdialer, on a wide range of platforms and we have to say, we’re already addicted.

Shown above on a BlackBerry Bold, the app allows you to route calls seamlessly via Google Voice without the need to do anything differently when making calls. Dial a number or access a contact, press send and viola. The top image above shows the UI, simple as it is, where you can set the app to handle outgoing calls one of five different ways:

  1. Use Google Voice for all outgoing calls
  2. Use Google Voice for all outgoing international calls
  3. Use Google Voice for all outgoing domestic calls
  4. “Ask me on every call”
  5. Off

We opt for option number four, where each time a call is dialed and send is pressed, the app asks if the call should be routed normally or via Google Voice (second image above). If Google Voice is selected as the routing option, the call will be connected via Google’s switches and your Google Voice number will appear on the recipient’s caller ID. By selecting one of the first three options above of course, you will forgo that extra step and calls will automatically be routed through Google.

The app is still young but it does have some additional features worth mentioning such as quick and easy access to your voicemail, inbox and even Google 411. On the other hand there’s plenty more we’re waiting for; first and foremost, SMS integration. GVdialer is available for BlackBerry, Symbian (S60 3rd), Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile, with additional support coming soon for feature phones. The app will run you $9.99 which isn’t terrible — provided Google doesn’t push out a better, free solution in the next month or so — but there is a more-than-ample free 30 day trial to ensure the app is right for you before coughing up the dough. Our advice: if you have a Google Voice account you definitely need to check it out.

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Google Voice to support number portability

Google Voice is a service that has tremendous potential and as such, we’ll be watching it closely over the months to come. Last week, we showed you the service’s current mobile capabilities and posed a few ideas in terms of where Google could potentially take Google Voice. Interpret this however you wish, but further details were discovered this week that could certainly support some big plans:

We’re excited to count you among our users, and we want to continue to earn your business every day. We don’t lock you into minimum commitment contracts, charge you activation fees, or make it impossible for you to leave. If you want to move to another service provider and take your Google number with you, you can do so at any time.

  • Your ability to transfer your Google number to another service provider usually depends on the providers, and whether they’ll support your number.
  • If your provider supports porting over your Google number, please contact your provider’s customer service department for instructions.

Yep, Google Voice supports number porting. For the time being, only exiting users are able to port their numbers away from the service but a support page suggests Google is currently working on setting up incoming porting as well. As the service stands now, porting an existing number over to Google Voice doesn’t seem to make much sense — all the more reason to believe Google has some pretty grand ideas moving forward. If you’re a current account holder, definitely take a look through the support pages as Google seems very open about receiving feedback and molding at least some aspects of the service after the needs and wants of its users.

[Via IntoMobile]

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Mobile sites show us where Google Voice might be going

In all of the hubbub surrounding Google’s recent revival and transformation of GrandCentral, one of the greatest aspects of the service was lost in the fray by most — mobile access to google.com/voice. Along with a new web-based UI and a handful of awesome new features such as free SMS and voicemail transcriptions, Google introduced new mobile sites that provide on-device access to all of Google Voice’s core functions. Users now have access to inboxes (voicemail transcriptions and SMS, each with threaded view), contacts, settings and plenty more from just about any mobile phone with a browser. What’s more, calls can be initiated with one click using the “Quick Call” feature and users can even send SMS messages quickly and easily right from the homepage. Above, a couple of grabs from the iPhone-optimized mobile site show the layout and how accessible all of the features are. Below, you can see that other devices have access to an equally-useful mobile site:

These shots were pulled from a BlackBerry Bold and you can see that while the home screen isn’t quite as flashy, it’s just as usable. The shot beneath the homepage shows a contact view where calls and/or SMS can be initiated in a matter of seconds. For those who haven’t yet tried Google Voice’s SMS functionality by the way, it’s great. SMS can be sent from within the UI and replies are delivered to both the Google Voice site and your mobile number. SMS in the UI display as a threaded conversation as you can see, and SMS to your phone come from a Google number. The message body is prefaced with the sender’s name (if present in your contacts) or mobile number and any replies you send are also recorded in the conversation within Google Voice.

So with all this great functionality available on your mobile, we have to wonder where Google plans to take things. The next logical step is apps, of course. As with other major services such as Maps and Gmail, we presume Google Voice will slowly trickle out to all the big platforms; iPhone, BlackBerry, S60, Android, etc. Imagine Google Voice functionality in an always-on app that integrates with your contact list; basically a very enhanced version of TalkPlus, but free. This is the likely direction of the service, but let’s take things a step further. What if Google offered a device, or line of devices, tied to an MVNO-like service? An Android-based handset with a low monthly service fee, free national calling, cheap international calling, free messaging, free transcribed voicemail, free email (Gmail), free mapping and directions/navigation (Maps), free 411 (Google 411), etc etc. Everything Google offers rolled up into one killer device. Simply purchase the handset, log in with your Google account and bang, you’re off to the races.

Perhaps Google has no plans to offer such a device and instead it will continue to push its services onto various platforms in an effort to make every phone, Android or not, a Gphone. What do you think — would a true Google phone be the ultimate coup or are we dreaming?

GrandCentral lives: Google launches Google Voice

It has taken what seemed like an eternity for those who weren’t quick enough to snag an account while the service was open, but Google has finally shown the world what it plans to do with GrandCentral — and it’s looking pretty awesome. GrandCentral users have been sitting in limbo for almost two years now, waiting for Google to either announce its plans for the service it acquired in July 2007 or shut it down as has been the case with several other acquisitions. Thankfully, the former is the case. Google let the cat out of the bag last night and announced Google Voice, which is currently a closed service being rolled out to GrandCentral users.

In a nutshell, Google Voice is Gmail for your voice communications. As with GrandCentral, you get one number that you can set up to forward to any and all of your existing numbers — mobile, home phone, office phone, etc. Incoming calls ring to all attached lines and if you don’t answer, any voicemail left will be stored in a visual queue and can be accessed from any computer or mobile phone. Google Voice picks up where GrandCentral left off and adds some big functionality such as voicemail transcription, SMS, free conference calling and plenty more. We’ll be watching this one closely as it’s a huge and necessary step as Google moves further and further toward world domination. Can you say, Android integration? Current GrandCentral users will be rolled over into Google Voice over the next couple of days but unfortunately there is no word on exactly when the service might open up to new users.

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