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?


  1. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  2. please invite me 🙂 [email protected]

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.!

    • 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.

    • 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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]

  14. 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!

  15. 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