Google Voice Goes Real Time

Today must have been Android App Update Day at Google: we saw new versions of Listen, Shopper and Voice hit the market. Of these, Voice saw the most significant changes.

Previously,  alerts of new voice and text messages were pushed out every fifteen minutes. In fact, I had turned them off, since alerts hit my phone via email more quickly than native Google Voice alerts. But if you enable Inbox Synchronization in the new version of the app, alerts will hit your phone within seconds. And turning on this feature will also tell Voice to stop forwarding text messages to your phone, handy if you are allotted a limited number each month.

Besides this speed boost, the new version of Voice also adds a handy contact strip that pops up when you tap a contact’s avatar within the app. If you’ve used a Nexus One, you’ll recognize this easy way to choose how you want to get in touch with someone.

While these changes are welcome, I’ve heard recent complaints that Voice is not more deeply integrated with Android, and that the transcriptions are still more humorous than useful. If you use the Google Voice app, what’s your opinion of it?

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  1. Brad
    March 24, 01:38 Reply

    I don't know what my thought on Google Voice are because we can even access it from Aus.

    So why would Google invest too much time in a product that is only available for their US market?

    • anakin78z
      March 24, 17:51 Reply

      Well, as you can see, features are still being added. I'm sure that setting up a service that gives you an actual phone number, and handles call forwarding, conferencing, transcriptions, etc. takes some time to port to other countries.
      It's not even available to everyone in the US yet (invite only).
      But I hope you get it soon.

  2. @okcnyyfan
    March 24, 01:45 Reply

    The contact strip must be for certain versions of the OS. I can not get it to come up on the HTC Hero(Sprint).

    • wonton
      March 24, 08:05 Reply

      i also don't see it come up on my samsung moment. must be because we are running 1.5

      not a big deal, but i wish the update to 2.1 would come already! the real-time updating of the inbox is greatly appreciated. i had to forward google voice sms to my cell # to get them quickly enough.

      now i'm just waiting for MMS and easy sending to multiple contacts.

  3. @saltorio
    March 24, 01:48 Reply

    Isn't Google Voice still by invite only too?

    I'd just like to see them push out a widescale release available to everyone.

  4. David Stephenson
    March 24, 02:06 Reply

    It's a great improvement but for some reason Google voice hasn't been working on a bunch of the new MyTouch 3gs that just came out and the Fender special editions. It's a shame :-(

  5. Ratnok
    March 24, 03:59 Reply

    Yeah, I have a Nexus One, and found it to be cumbersome and redundant. I uninstalled it and went back to T-Mobile Visual Voice Mail.

    • Android Guru
      March 24, 08:01 Reply

      UNistalled? Isnt it built into Android 2.1 why uninstall?

  6. Jim
    March 24, 04:52 Reply

    ^ Seth, I just sent you an invite.

  7. Jim
    March 24, 04:56 Reply

    ^^^ Jonathan, just send you an invite.

  8. Brian
    March 24, 05:21 Reply

    Brad you have a point, but think of it as a test bed… once it reaches you it should be lean and mean.

  9. gad
    March 24, 06:58 Reply

    It so sad that this app is yet to be extended to other countries outside the US. How long shall we wait?
    Will we ever get it outside the US?

    • shaneaus
      March 24, 07:38 Reply

      I believe Google is waiting on some other issues related to phone number porting, assignment, etc. before expanding Google Voice. They have some legal issues to work out with the phone companies regarding phone number issuance. And, currently, you have to have an additional phone number assigned to you by Google to use Google Voice. I live in Austin, Texas, USA – but, due to this issue regarding the phone numbers my Google Voice phone number is a San Antonio, Texas, USA phone number.

  10. Glen
    March 24, 12:13 Reply

    I personally love GV. Yes, I can confirm that the transcription service isn't the greatest. And yes, it is quite humorous sometimes. I think there's even a website dedicated to botched transcriptions.

    Aside from that, I like being able to record conversations. Helpful for those phone conversations with telephone, cable, credit card, etc companies. Also, they receive a notification they are being recorded, so it puts an extra ace on your side because they know you're not messing around.

    I like that it syncs with Google contacts.

    I like being able to choose my own number. Unfortunately, 867-5309 was already taken [American's older than 25 can appreciate that number]. I also checked for ROF-LMAO, but was taken. So I got a number with TGIF for the last four digits. A novelty I know, but the other nice thing is that my original number with TMo is a Pennsylvania #. I moved to South Carolina a year ago and so now I can have a SC area code without having to change my number.

    I can give ALL of my contacts a different voicemail message when they call me.

    Texting on a PC interface while I'm work and not having to use my phone? Priceless.

    And this is hardly a reason, but I LOVE having an app that Apple users want but can't have. Sure they can use the web interface…but still.

  11. Miguel
    March 24, 12:49 Reply

    I'd like to be able to change my voicemail greeting on my handset, instead of dealing with the mic on my PC. And I wish they would add Spanish as a supported language for the prompts and transcriptions. Spanish is widely used in the U.S.!

    • Will
      March 24, 15:00 Reply

      You can change your VM greeting by calling your own GV#.

      I personally love GV, and use it more for texting than the actual SMS app on my Nexus One. I will say that I still get the accompanying txt msg with GV msgs, even though I've downloaded the new updated. I don't however get the email notification, which is nice.

      I rarely use it for outgoing calls, but when I do the experience has been positive. Incoming calls are pretty good too.

      • anakin78z
        March 24, 17:40 Reply

        You can turn off the text message delivery on the website.

    • Spencer
      March 24, 20:53 Reply

      Personally i dont think they need to add spanish support at this point. They are testing it, and adding another language would just complicate things more. If spanish speaking people in the U.S. want to use it, they can just learn english, it's not that hard

  12. Benson
    March 24, 16:10 Reply

    I use GV and love it. It'll be great to get notifications immediately. In my experience the transcripts are incredibly useful, although you do need to keep homonyms in mind when you see the text color indicating the voice recognition stuff was less certain. Generally I've been very impressed.

  13. anakin78z
    March 24, 17:53 Reply

    I really can't think of any way that Google Voice could be more tightly integrated than it is on the Nexus One (and I'm assuming Droid). Just make sure you set your default messaging application to be Google Voice, and all your shortcuts, etc. will use it instead. Works pretty damn well.

  14. wycowboy911
    March 24, 18:41 Reply

    No big surprise that it's not working (STILL) on my TMO MT3G Fender. Still stuck with version 0.2.

  15. @gltovar
    March 24, 19:16 Reply

    Could I bother you for an invite? gltovar85( at )

  16. Stephen
    March 24, 19:26 Reply

    One thing I agree with in O'Reilly's blurb is the complaint about phone numbers in transcriptions being un-clickable. I keep trying to press the number to call the person back (if the incoming call came from a company PBX for example and they've left me a direct line in the message). The only potential downside to that is I've seen at least one case where the transcription got the number wrong, could be confusing to people who aren't careful about that.

  17. Jeff
    March 24, 19:49 Reply

    I would love to be able to use it on my Droid. I have had it for 6 months and have been unable to get an invite from Google as of yet. Anyone who happens to have an extra invite, I would really appreciate it.

    • Spencer
      March 24, 20:55 Reply

      If you want an invite, we need an email to send it to.

  18. sampow
    March 24, 20:56 Reply

    I've been waiting on an invite forever…if anyone has an extra please send it my way. Thanks!

    sampow (at)

  19. bob
    March 24, 22:27 Reply

    i checked inbox sync and it still gives duplicate notification (GV inbox and messaging inbox). and you have to "back" twice to exit the app.. ??? -N1 user

  20. @storm2k
    March 24, 20:57 Reply

    My only real complaint is that I can't be selective enough when using the number. I use my GV number as my "home" phone number so that people such as doctor's offices etc can just leave me messages about things. I don't want to have to always choose to use GV on a call or not so I have it turned off which leaves my options a bit limited. I'd like to see two changes:

    1. On the dialer, a button that says "Make this call using GV".
    2. In the little contact strip that pops up when you tap on a contact's picture in the contacts, the ability to choose to make a call to them via GV there.

    The BB version of GV had the built in dialer which made it a lot more useful to me because I could be so much more selective about it.

  21. @ZacharySousa
    March 25, 04:17 Reply

    I would love an invite to google voice, ive been following the google android movement since google merged with grandcentral. I applied for a number with grandcentral years ago and also with google voice over 7 months ago. and still havnt received an invite. I would LOVE one, the visual voice mail would be awesome, having a different voice mail for each contact would be amazing. If anyone wants to send me an invite that would be AMAZING!

    [email protected]

  22. Henry
    March 25, 09:48 Reply

    I have heard so much about Google Voice that I would like the opportunity to try it. Would someone be so kind to send me an invite, please.

    jammerbridge (at)

    Thank you!

  23. @scottyabrown
    March 26, 14:36 Reply

    I've got three Google Voice invites. The first three people to follow me on twitter @scottyabrown AND send me an email to scotty.brown [at] androidguys [dot] com explaining to me what they like about AndroidGuys in a CLEAR AND CONCISE manner will get them :).

    Good Luck!

    –Scotty Brown

  24. Mickey
    March 26, 15:41 Reply

    Battery dies in real time too.

  25. khay
    July 14, 15:46 Reply

    thank you for sharing. nice post. i like it :p

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