Google Voice just got an update on Android and Blackberry to include a feature called “direct access numbers.” The service now assigns a unique outgoing call number to each person you dial, skipping the need to forward the number you were dialing to Google Voice’s servers. This new feature makes connecting outgoing calls quicker by skipping the server altogether and forgoing your phone’s data connection. And while this addition definitely enhances the way the app functions, making it feel more like placing a traditional telephone call, it comes with one major caveat.
Many have been using a little “hack” though Google Voice to place unlimited voice calls regardless of how many minutes they have on their service provider plan (given the plan includes an unlimited “favorites” option like T-Mobile’s “myFaves”). The trick works (or worked) like this: You place your incoming Google Voice number as one of your unlimited minutes contacts and the outgoing Google Voice number as another. Now as long as you use Google Voice to place and receive calls, all are theoretically free no matter if the contact is in your favorites list or not. Now that the outgoing Google Voice number is no longer static, this clever work around has gone bye bye.
If you have been using this trick and don’t want to lose your precious, loophole, free unlimited calling you might do best to avoid the latest Google Voice update. If you downloaded the latest version not knowing you would lose this functionality, well there may be something of interest to you over at this web page. Don’t say we never give you nothing.
[via Google Mobile Blog, thanks to everyone who sent this in!]