2013 Audit: what’s going on with Google Voice?

Once upon a time, no one could quit talking about Google Voice. It was the hot “in” of 2011, and with features like full carrier integration and a possible future for VoIP features it looked poise to become the next great Google service. Things like a dedicated Google Voice number, the ability to use the service for voicemail, SMS and MMS messages and more all would have looked nice on paper coupled with Google Talk’s ability to call phones.

But things have pretty much come to a screeching halt as we head into 2013. Perhaps the Google Voice team figured we wouldn’t be here by now, what with the world supposed to have been ending on December 21st, and all. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t appear to be a significant priority for Google. A couple of different things might be to blame here.

For starters, carrier acceptance might be harder than Google initially anticipated. Sprint remains the only carrier who offers full, deep integration of Google Voice with its services. That doesn’t mean the service is useless to those who prefer Verizon, AT&T or others, but we’re sure users wouldn’t mind being afforded the same options.

Earlier in 2012, I speculated that carriers resisted deals for full Google Voice integration to make sure Google couldn’t undercut their own premium services. I can’t say with 100% certainty that is the case, but what other reason does every carrier but Sprint have for not wanting to strike deals with Google?

Another reason Google might not be pushing Google Voice forward any more than it did in 2011 could be due to a potential lack of a user-base. There’s no telling how many people are still using Google Voice, but recent rumors from Mountain View allege that underutilized services, like Google Reader, are always in danger of being given the axe.

If Google Voice’s user-base has dipped significantly since its popularity peaked in 2011 then we could be looking at a similar situation. It’s hard to believe that Google Voice might not be as popular as the sun anymore, but nothing lasts forever.

On the Android side of things, the app hasn’t gotten a significant upgrade in months. The most notable activity was earlier in 2012 when Google redesigned the app to fit in with the Holo crowd, but considering almost all its apps got that treatment then it’s nothing particularly special. The most recent upgrades by Google have been fixes for critical bugs, such as missed or delayed SMS messages and voicemail.

Perhaps Google feels the service is right where it needs to be, but tons of folks in the Google Play Store beg to differ. We’re still without the ability to properly send MMS messages. Whether or not it’s technically possible is a whole different story, but without a full suite of standard messaging features and comforting reliability you are going to have a hard time convincing folks that Google Voice can totally complement (if not replace) their carrier’s voicemail and texting options. It’s 2013, Google, and we want to see some significant progress on Google Voice.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Erstam Joshua Andrus

    I switched completely to Google voice last year with the GN on T-Mobile and the service is excellent. The app sucks. It needs threaded messages and not per conversation. Also mms would be cool,.

  • briankh

    I use Google Voice daily. Google Voice is my home phone with an Obihai adapter. I also have it at my office. I use it to send my business calls to my mobile phone so I can keep personal and business calls separate. I use it for my visual voice mail. I also use it for cheap international calls.

  • maximillion82

    I used Google voice for more than 50% of calls, but it doesn’t even work anymore where I am, I’m pretty upset about this my phone bill went from $100 to $300 per month now, and from the other side Google Voice had 0 support for problems that I have now. For starters I still have a $25 credit on my Google Voice account that I cannot get back, basically Google is holding my money for perpetuity and I cannot access it. The next issue is that I cannot use the service that I paid for.

    • John Wentworth

      How could you spend $100 – $300 on calls. I get unlimited on my $50 unlimited voice/data/text mvno plan. Even AT&T and Verizon offer unlimited talking plans for only a little over $100 And if it’s a landline, they all offer some kind of unlimited calling plan. Your getting ripped off. If they don’t get vonage voip or something, you can hold onto your landline and still save money.

  • sc0rch3d

    I completely converted over to GVoice in 2011 for calls and texts. One of the best apps in G’s arsenal.

    But, as I’ve said many times before, the time HAS to be coming that we no longer distinguish between texts / mms / emails / etc. They are all just files of different types and shouldn’t have to be segregated to different apps. Bring it together already! Make an app called like Unified Communications / Inbox (MotoBlur did this and was awesome idea). G could make 1 app where as they have 4 now – GMail, GVoice, Email, and Messaging.

  • AGx

    I’m not so much concerned with G-Voice replacing Text and VM services as much as I am concerned about it getting the axe for another reason: I’ve used Google Voice for the last 3 years for the alternate (and free) phone number, which is my primary number for use.

    I moved from NJ to the mid-west and never changed my carrier phone number. Instead, I use my Google Voice number for anything I do out here and my old NJ number is what all my friends and family still have.

    I would HATE HATE HATE to lose that number, have to switch my carrier number and have to give all the people who use my NJ number my new number AND have to deal with making sure all my professional contacts (and mid-west friends, have my new one).

    G-Voice could easily replace carrier stuff if they gave it the attention it deserves. But things like the lack of ability to delete more than 10x at a time of anything is a huge problem, especially when you have an Inbox, Trash, and HISTORY to deal with. Simple things like this and the fact that there seems to be no support for issues is very unattractive for users.

    • John Essey

      GV may replace carrier IF you can use Google Fiber on the back end. Right now carriers to not permit you to dial out from GV directly, or call back. You need another SIP Gateway somewhere… Look at the numbers when you call out from your phone using GV app, that number is the SIP gateway number for that user, and, can be programmed to call that user off the long/sip number. You can use GV with another SIP Provider or Skype over wifi… you’d be completely off “carrier” but reliant on wifi.

      • http://www.facebook.com/AGx07 Chris Brown-Demoreno

        Oh I know that and I don’t have any desire to be carrier free. I’m just saying in rely on that virtual number. If I then lost it, or any number, I have to deal with the change.

        • John Essey

          Yeah, that’s the worst part here is that if they kill the service.. then i’m back to where I was 5-6 years ago. At this point I’d pay for the service. Guess we’ll see…

    • John Wentworth

      Not sure if your talking about a landline or wireless number, but for wireless you can transfer your number anywhere you go, I’m prepaid and I’ve had the same carrier number through all these service switches Verizon -> AT&T -> Verizon -> Straight Talk (AT&T) -> Straight Talk (T-mobile) -> Solavei

  • David Hiestand

    Google Voice is my primary number for voice and text. It is also the primary number for at least 5 other people I know in my close group of acquaintances. It seems like it is only getting more popular but is not talked about much in the press because it isn’t the hot, new service. Like other comments, I wish Google would update the app and integrate their various communication tools (gtalk, messenger, voice) into one service.

    • http://www.newportessentials.com/ paco cornholio

      Right on the head. Great service, in need of some big final integration steps.

    • phinn

      Exactly right. Google Voice, Talk, SMS, MMS, Video chat, etc should all be one integrated seamless app/service. Google has the expertise, infrastructure and money to accomplish and Android users would love it.

      This has already been done amazingly well by the competition, it’s called iMessage. Wake up Google you’re years behind on this category.

    • storm14k

      I get the idea that this consolidation is coming.

  • Chimphappyhour

    Have been using it for a while. Love it. Just wish I had the ability to forward my GV# to an international # while I’m traveling. Basically, those who know me could call me internationally but have it be local for them and I pick up the tab.

  • Chimphappyhour

    Also, GV worked as my voicemail on my Nexus phones while on TMo but now that I have the TMo GNote2, my calls keep going straight to TMo’s VMail system and not GV like I would prefer. Do I need to root to get around this? Is there something I’m missing? Hate using the TMo VMail system!

  • John Essey

    I disagree pretty much with this article entirely. I feel this article lacks any substance, just “hear say”, and, even still, it’s far off of the reality of the service and its use without any stats. Sorry, I like your other posts but you’re way off here…

    True, its not had an update in awhile, but, does it need it? There are some negative reviews and feedback on the Play Store, but not a majority. I’ve read some of the negative reviews, some are app related, some seem user based…

    Is the lack of MMS/SMS really that bad of a deal? Most phones have other “send” options anyways, and, MMS/SMS is dying to be revamped…. The integration IS tight, and it IS there… I remember using “Google Voice” when it was still Grand Central. Google really helped push the service forward. I also have great success using Google Voice on a non-smart phone as well… Just saying man, this just seemed like a fluffy hear say article.

    But anyways, what i see, if nothing more than good progression here, is that this service, talk/gmail/+ integrated into a unified communication as a bundled app/platform/service makes more sense than anything. I think + will get more integration of these features than talk, especially.

    Ohai, if you downvote, explain why.. i’m curious!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Becker/649434881 Craig Becker

      Agreed. The writter clearly doesnt understand what google voice truely is or how it works or what their angle was.
      I bet google realized there isnt much money to be made in VoIP, margins are nothing these days. However if like google does best, if you can offer it free and get a ton of people using it, then sell ads, CHA CHING.

      Google voice isnt going anywhere and millions still using it I am sure.

      • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

        Just for the record, I never claimed to have even empirical evidence. I’m simply questioning why Google has been at a standstill as far as developing and pushing the product. Perhaps it’s not an audit in the literal sense of the word, but the point was to pose the question to Google — nothing more, nothing less. I never said Google Voice wasn’t a nice product, nor did I say for certain it was “dead” or anything of the sort. I simply said its growth, in terms of new features and certainly in terms of public excitement on Google’s part, has stagnated since 2011, and that users would like to see more. If any of that is untrue then, by all means, correct me. Just because a product works for you doesn’t mean it can’t get better for someone else.

        PS: Yes, I do realize there is more to Google Voice than the texting and visual voicemail. I opted not to talk about alternate phone numbers because there’s really not much to say about it — it’s convenient, and it works. It’s the potential of the service overall and development of the other features I was more worried about, so that’s what I decided to focus on.

        • Jody Durkacs

          It’s good and it works. Why do we need to push Google on it? Yes, MMS would be nice, but as you speculate, it may not even be possible. The best quality services are ones we use every day without thinking. GV is like that for me and many of my friends. I use it on Verizon and have since right after Google bought it and changed the name. It’s been great. I don’t really care about any further “deep integration” as it does everything I need now. No offense intended, but your article is pure speculation and doesn’t really seem to have any substance, as others have said. Nothing to see here. Move along.

        • John Essey

          No worries. Thanks for replying though!

    • Drew Hill

      The only problem I have with the lack of MMS is my wife nagging me that she didn’t get a MMS. There is no indication to her friend that it didn’t go through, and obviously the only way my wife found out is her friend asked her about it later on.

      If they would at least allow SMS messages to be received in some fashion it would be ok. Also they need to fix the multiple device notification sync that they broke 18+ months ago. They also need to fix the new bug where every phone is always rung even when they are supposed to be disabled. I wrote a tasker plugin that changes forwards based on tasker triggers and it is useless now. It’s not the plugin because I tried it on their website as well. That’s annoying. Honestly that should be built in functionality with Google Now… now. No need to forward to my work number when I’m not there. Ring count/time control would be nice as my work voicemail is very quick to pickup compared to google voice’s voicemail.

      • John Essey

        Yeah, the sender has no way to know the message didnt go through. That could be/should be changed, or, at least have the MMS/SMS wrapped to email instead, but I think that would be a unified communication thing…

        The uni-ring is ok, at most. I dont think the interval on ringing phone a > phone b works. At most, I think, 1 ring per device on the chain… THAT should be fixed! I don’t have a ring issue that you posted though; gtalk, skype, home and my phone are tied to my account, but all disabled… weird problem though! Give them feedback :)

        A couple of months ago someone tried to send me an MMS/SMS and it went through! Magic, right! However, I think they sent me a message coded around this template:
        12125551212.12015550189.{some-random-string}@txt.voice.google.com

        …not sure if you recall, but, when GV was still Grand Central, you could call the “long” number / proxy number (which was the real number) to make the call show up through your GV/Grand Central number. I know that still works… might not help you with the SMS/MMS, but worth a shot!

        Good Luck!

        • gary ryan

          It’s likely the sender was on the Sprint network. I was confused for a while because I would occasionally get a MMS message, then other times, get nothing. Turns out MMS from Sprint users sent to GV go through. The rest of the carriers…not so much.

          • John Essey

            Yep, he’s on Sprint. What’s odd is sometimes he says the messages “bounce” and he sees it in his email, and I get them as email — not MMS/SMS. Just makes me think Google can wrap the MMS/SMS to email…

            But yeah, Sprint FTW!

      • Ahhk

        There are still so many ways that Blackberry was (still is) better than Android.

        As for message delivery confirmation, nothing yet has been able to touch BBM – you saw when it was delivered AND when it was read. I so miss that.

        Full on contact-level custom notifications! Oh how I await the day Android has a even a portion of that functionality.

        • http://twitter.com/TheMaker3 The Maker

          iMessage does that too… but you can turn it off. Most people won’t want to reveal when they read a message, so it can be a positive thing.

    • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

      Although I’m not going to downvote you, I disagree with you. I’ll explain why, but first, just so you understand where I’m coming from: I used Google Voice as my primary phone number ever since Google acquired GrandCentral in 2007. So that’s 5-6 years ago. I gave up on Google Voice last week and switched to my carrier number.

      Okay so, the reason I disagree with you is that this article is full of substance. Google Voice is a GREAT idea. The problem is, from the beginning, Google Voice was touted as an upgrade or improvement to your old phone. But it STILL lacks MMS support.

      “Is the lack of MMS/SMS really that bad of a deal?”

      YES. It is an absolute dealbreaker. Yes, I can *send* photos to friends via email or facebook or twitter or whatever else. But *receiving* photos from people who don’t have a smartphone or don’t have your email address, is incredibly frustrating.

      Aside: Why did you say “MMS/SMS”? Anyone who uses Google Voice knows it does SMS. Do you use Google Voice?

      When it comes to the app itself, I agree that there isn’t much to complain about. But there are definitely SOME things that could be improved upon. For example, in the web interface, why does it take two clicks to Archive an item? There are links to “Call”, “Text”, and even a “More” menu. “Archive” should be right there. I “Call” so infrequently, and archive so frequently it doesn’t make sense.

      • John Essey

        Sorry, I meant MMS… not SMS, and changed my post after I caught my own error. I’ved used google Voice when it was Grand Central, before they were purchased… So dont kill me over my own typo ;-)

        But the MMS/SMS stuff…while your use is different than mine, as I’m sure the lot are… For what you get service wise, and the ability to use the service in other ways far exceeds the lack of MMS. If they haven’t figured out a sure way to wrap MMS to the number (or email), maybe they can not…or maybe that will be sorted out in a later update (unified comm). Again, there’s a trade off that can or can not be a deal breaker for some/most. And there’s a work around for the MMS stuff. Smart phones are becoming cheaper and cheaper, eventually all those old clam shells will go away.

        The feedback you have on the site itself, that’s different, but I agree, could also use an update in functionality. The Archive option, and additional message view/options should be like GMail, imho. Even still, the call/text/more options still require an extra click and typing too… just saying. Submit feedback though, I would and have!

        • John Essey

          Oh, sorry, did you drop GV because of the lack of MMS?

          • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

            Yes, I dropped GV because of the lack of MMS.

          • John Wentworth

            So did I

          • Ahhk

            Call me crazy, but I cant remember the last time I sent/received a MMS – or even wanted/needed to.

            It’s probably been well over 5 years…….

            Let’s go over some of the reasons why it’s antiquated in my book:
            A) The resolution sucks.
            B) The recipient might be paying “per message” and you’d cost them money
            C) It can only be viewed on the phone (unless transferred)
            D) Not very searchable

            Email on the other hand can be full resolution, is free for most people, and can be viewed/used/etc on the computer(s) and tablet(s) in addition to the phone(s)

            Sorry, but email FTW!

          • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

            I agree that email is superior to MMS. But that doesn’t change the fact that some people ONLY have MMS. In my world, those people vastly outnumber those with email. So for me, I unfortunately need MMS.

          • Ahhk

            Oh…hrmmm…where exactly is your world? :0

            Must be different here in Texas. I don’t know anyone (over 8 and under 70) that doesn’t have a “smart phone”.

          • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

            Seattle, WA. Late 20s in age.

            Even people who have smartphones, I sometimes don’t have their email address. Someone I meet out in public, we’ll exchange numbers not email addresses or last names for Facebook etc. MMS is the only way to send pictures, far too often.

          • Ahhk

            Again, call me crazy, but I exchange emails with someone long before phone numbers. Dont want most of them calling me at all hours of the day (Im married so I don’t need booty calls).

            I’d say about 20 people have my number…and about 250 only have my email address :)

          • techbytes

            You have the numbers and can’t text and ask for their email address? Get with the program. Just saying…

        • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

          And thanks for the clarification.

          “or maybe that [MMS] will be sorted out in a later update”

          This is the essence of the problem. It has been 6 years bro. It’s not coming.

          Other than that, I think I agree with you on most things. GV has some awesome stuff. It’s just a matter of whether the good outweighs the bad for you.

    • John Wentworth

      Lack of MMS is a big deal for one reason, backwards compatibility with the rest of the world. Sure I can send out pictures via email or facebook. But my mom, sister and many of my less technical friends still use mms from time to time, and texting is still very popular, popular to the point of being annoying as I have friends who won’t pick up the damn phone no matter how long the conversation is. If people want to move away from old school carrier sms/mms, it needs to be backwards compatible and universally supported, not just between Android users, or between Apple users, or Facebook users.

  • Kaostheory

    Only available in US, not officially in Canada. If it was available to more people internationally through the play store maybe more people would be using it.

    • Brian S.

      Yeah, I really wish they would bring the service to other countries. What if i was traveling? Could I still receive messages even?

      • Kaostheory

        I imagine you could as long as you add data to your travel package. Whenever I go into the US the cost of adding data is prohibitive though, and as of yet I haven’t found a way to buy directly from the US carriers. Maybe if connected to wifi?

      • John Essey

        I can say I use GV when I’m in Canada. I cant recall getting text messages, as I dont get many. But I was able to use other SIP providers to call out of / emulate the Google Voice number. Not sure if that’s what you mean… You need some type of data/voice conduit to use Google Voice; either via another SIP or through Skype. But yeah, I totally call out emulating GV while in Canada… Good luck!

        • Brian S.

          I live in the US. GV is available to US and Canada users. If I went to Germany or something would I be able to receive/place calls via GV. I also think the carrier network vs WiFi might be an issue.

          See, one thing that gets me about this is idk how people from Europe can’t just use GV anyways. How are they restricted? Perhaps the format of their phone numbers?

  • renGek

    Thats a whole lot of speculation with no numbers or even pretty charts or power points to back up anything. We mind as well say just about anything on this topic like the catholic church has deemed GV as immoral so thats why its not getting updates.

    I suspect GV will become integrated into some other product. I think its too good and useful of a product for google to just stop doing. I love having a GV #. I use it all the time when doing business so that I don’t have to give out my real phone. I also like the fact that when my phone is away for repairs for 3 weeks I can still receive phone calls and text. Its invaluable.

  • cwalker80

    Man the service stop working for me a couple of months ago. Nothing sycn up anymore. A shame really

    • John Essey

      try removing the app, clearing your data and then re-install!

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    I use Google Voice everyday, since it first came out on Verizon. I LOVE it. so many extra features, that would usually have fees attached through Verizon. I would be sad if G Voice would go away :(

  • Chris Bigg

    The app and service works perfectly for me, and my company. We use it for on-call purposes as it tromps our PBX system. The translations to text take some time but the message can still be listened to while you wait. The app works perfectly on Android and IOS. The complaints on the app page in the Play store are user errors. One removed the app and readded and then complains that their Verizon voicemail is back while that was one of the settings they ignored when they readded it. Its got an 80% approval rating the store, which isn’t “a ton of folks”. It doesn’t need a fix, it works perfectly fine as it is.

  • steve

    Agreed that this article doesn’t provide enough empirical evidence to the claim, but that said, it raises an interesting question about where Voice is in its development. I’d argue that the bigger problem isn’t with GV, but with Google in general. Where are ANY of their products at? We haven’t a clue of their roadmap on anything, and everything they’ve been working on seems to be at a standstill (Google TV, G+, etc).

  • GawkerRedesignSucks

    NO! They can’t kill Google Voice! I use that for my voicemail. It’s far superior to Verizon’s voicemail service and it keeps me from having to give those bloodsuckers another dime of my money.

    • phinn

      But far inferior to the competition, iMessage can do data/sms/mms/visual voice mail/emotes/read notification/etc, and it’s all seamless to the end user.

      • GawkerRedesignSucks

        “iMessage”? This is an Android enthusiasts site. Go away troll.

      • chuckles87

        Go home itroll you are drunk

      • John Wentworth

        With major carriers doing away with independently charges for text/mms messaging and simply giving unlimited talk/text the additional features of iMessage are useless. iMessage may support visual voice mail, but not on it’s own, it still relies on carrier voicemail systems. That’s why you can’t use it with a mvno and an iPhone.

        • storm14k

          Its not really about the free messages. Its about all of your communication being consolidated into one. For instance you can send a message to a contact. If they have a Talk account it uses that. If they don’t it goes to them as SMS. When they respond no matter what they responded from it comes back to you in your unified messaging app as just another message with only enough distinction to let you know what the other person is using. I’d even toss in email as a type of long form message that can be expanded.

      • storm14k

        Now lets be real folks he does have a bit of a point here. The consolidated messaging we want to see in SMS, Talk, Hangouts, Messenger etc. is what iMessage is now. Google could have done this a whole ago but they don’t to have any synergy between teams there.

  • George Perry

    I guess I am in the minority of commenters on this article — Google Voice is a big disappointment to me. I find call quality to be terrible if not on the verge of unusable. Even on calls where the voice quality is okay there is a delay which results in both parties talking over each other. On some calls I feel like I am talking with one of the adults from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts cartoon. That said, I do use it for international calls as well as routing all of my voicemail through it for transcription.

    • John Essey

      What is your cell signal strength when using Google Voice? I find mine to be terrible if I have 1 bar on 1x…

      • George Perry

        Thanks, John. That’s probably part of my issue. I also haven’t given it a fair shake after switching networks. For me it was painful after having high hopes and giving out my Voice # only to have to revert all of my contacts back to the native cell # due to poor quality.

        • John Essey

          I hear you there… having a universal number is really priceless. Like you, I gave out my GV number as my primary, and I still do.

          If you have another SIP gateway, or skype, you can call yourself back through GV on one of those numbers, just over wifi — it may help you determine why it’s not working as you hoped!

          Good Luck!

  • Brian S.

    I doubt they’re going to give Google Voice “the axe.” I still use it a lot, and without the service my life would suck.

    Personally i don’t know why people are even still using MMS when you have email. You can send MMSs even from primitive phones to email addresses, then once you have the email address you can reply back. Not only that but if you know the suffix to put on the end of the phone number for the carrier you don’t even need the person to message you first.

    I feel like adding MMS to Google Voice would get messy, I would have pictures here and pictures there and I dont want that. Having pictures in gmail that are not easily accessible is already irritating. Speaking of which does anyone know if Gmail has a feature like Yahoo mail where you can just view all of your pics in all of your emails at once, like viewing a Google Image search.

    Also, I would have to agree with other users about Google Voice only getting more popular. I am meeting more and more people who use it and probably half of the people I contact most frequently use it. The service is far superior to those of the carriers, probably most because it is free. And since I know Google isn’t going to pull anything stupid, (like giving by call log away at a simple government request or charging me) even if the carrier offered me something better I would not take it. But I feel confident enough to say that the carriers never will do something better because their goal is to get all of my money that they can. Don’t want.

  • max p

    Chances are google is changing the way it does messaging. Like finally getting rid of google voice, G+ messenger and its native messenger and creating one app that will do all of that… We will see at Google I/O

  • toomuchgame441

    I love Google Voice especially being on Sprint its my primary VM client and I love being able to text thru my Voice account. Definitely one of my favorite Google Services along with Nav/Places

  • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

    Just for the record, I never claimed to have even empirical evidence. I’m simply questioning why Google has been at a standstill as far as developing and pushing the product. Perhaps it’s not an audit in the literal sense of the word, but the point was to pose the question to Google — nothing more, nothing less. I never said Google Voice wasn’t a nice product, nor did I say for certain it was “dead” or anything of the sort. I simply said its growth, in terms of new features and certainly in terms of public excitement on Google’s part, has stagnated since 2011, and that users would like to see more. If any of that is untrue then, by all means, correct me. Just because a product works for you doesn’t mean it can’t get better for someone else.

    PS: Yes, I do realize there is more to Google Voice than the texting and visual voicemail. I opted not to talk about alternate phone numbers because there’s really not much to say about it — it’s convenient, and it works. It’s the potential of the service overall and development of the other features I was more worried about, so that’s what I decided to focus on.

  • Itchy_Robot

    Personally, I use it for:
    - free voicemail
    - I text my phone when I can’t find it in my house
    - when I call businesses – just in case I need to block them later

  • infominutebrad

    wait… they’re going to axe Google Reader? that’s like my #1 most used google service. wtf..

    as for Voice, it was such a massive pain to get it working with Verizon i ended up just going with Youmail (which is great). for anyone paying that $3 fee for visual voicemail from your carrier, STOP right now and download Youmail or Voice

  • squiddy20

    Since upgrading from a Samsung Moment (which Sprint provided a voicemail app for) to a Galaxy Nexus (again, on Sprint), I found I needed at least a new voicemail app. What better one to use than Google’s own app? I really only use GV for voicemails though. Would I like a completely integrated communication app? Maybe. I’d certainly give it a try at least. Here’s to hoping.

  • Brian Burk

    This article is dead on. Google Voice is terrible on the Nexus 4 and android 4.2. There is serious lag when typing & I mean serious to the point I hate using the application. It is almost unusable. In addition there are major force close issues where the application becomes locked.

    In addition the conversations are only one day long so if you need to find something that is back a couple of days it is only possible through using search.

    Also in 4.2 I keep receiving notifications in notification window that have already been viewed.

    In addition to all of this the ap on my phone does not sync properly, drains the battery and all in all is just plain terrible.

    I like the service but on 4.2 it’s terrible.

    • selonmoi

      I was visiting the US over the holidays and I had no problems with Voice on my Nexus 4. No noticeable lag, no FCs, no notification problems. I hate to suggest the obvious, but have you tried clearing your Voice app data and starting fresh?

      Google Voice is awesome for visitors to the US. You can keep the same phone number even if you let your service expire or switch around among different carriers. You also get free unlimited texting and free calls home (at least if home for you, like me, is Canada).

      I would love to see Voice integrated with Messaging, Talk, and G+. But even as things stand, I still think it’s a killer service.

      • Luxferro

        +1 works fine on my nexus 4 too.

      • Brian Burk

        My phone is only 2 weeks old so there cannot be a huge data buildup. I just went to the app store and read through some of the recent reviews and many of the people posting have exactly the same issues. You must be one of the lucky ones that is not experiencing problems. And yes I am have the latest version of Google Voice. In terms of the keyboard lag I do not have this issue in any other app. If it was a phone issue the lag would exist in all apps. I have even toggled between a gmail message and a text message in Voice and typing is lagging in one and not lagging in Gmail. So it truly can’t be the phone.

    • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

      I think it’s just your phone. Or maybe you need to update your app. Are you sure you have the latest version of Google Voice?

  • John

    I had my primary number ported into Google Voice and used it with Sprint integration. I loved it, but… WHERE ON EARTH IS MMS?! I didn’t expect it to take so long. Combine that with the fact that Sprint’s data coverage is absolute garbage, and you don’t have a winning recipe. I am currently in the process of porting my Google Voice number to Verizon. I will finally have texting that works the way it should, and decent coverage. I will continue to use it for my voicemail though. I had a lot of hope for Google Voice, and I hope that Google doesn’t let it become an old unused relic.

    PREDICTION: Google partners with Dish, opens a mobile network, dumps tons of money into Google Voice as it would serve as a core service for their data only network, and then I port over to that service and give them my money.

  • $8357570

    your speculation is so out there. Where do you even come up with any of this, Quentyn?
    You may as well have added “it’s aliens”, because that’s how out of the ballpark your ideas are – they are entirely hypotheticals which you then speculate further, and that is intellectually dishonest.

    Sprint reached out to Google, not the other way around. It was also an incredibly poor implementation. Other carriers don’t want to do it because it’ll screw their lock in for consumers. It’s not some kind of magic/skeptical “nobody uses google voice” thing.

    If your barrier for quality is “can I send/receive MMS messages”, I’d like to remind you that MMS is carrier based – if you have internet access you can google voice text and also send pictures in emails. It’d be nice to have MMS, but that’s at the bottom of any priority list for google voice.

  • selonmoi

    MMS? Really? Because there’s no better way to share pictures and videos in 2013?

    • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

      Let’s say you’re out. You meet someone cool. You part ways, but before you go, you exchange numbers.

      This happens all the time. You ONLY have their phone number. No email. No Facebook. No last name.

      Like it or not, MMS is absolutely necessary and is a dealbreaker for some people.

      • phinn

        exactly. that is why the whole world uses and loves iMessage.

        • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

          That’s for iOS only, right?

          • John Essey

            yeah, that’s what I’m looking for… imessage for Android, more of a Unified Communication than a bunch of split off services that could work as one. I dont think there’s anything by Google though… However, on android, might want to try this: http://mightytext.net/

          • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

            I do use mightytext :)

          • John Essey

            haha — not exactly imessage or solves the problem in our threads i take it?

          • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

            No. The only thing it does is lets you send SMS from your web browser on your PC. Your phone is still actually sending the SMS (ie, mighty text does not send messages if your phone is off).

        • chuckles87

          Go home itroll your drunk

  • MK2

    Um, I’m on verizon and I use google voice as my main messaging service, all day, every day. I don’t understand what the problem is.

  • phinn

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read on Phandroid. Google Voice is deplorable and is a huge blemish Google’s good name. The app itself probably needs a complete rewrite:

    1) Doesn’t create one message thread per contact. Doesn’t even have the option. Compare this to Gmail (which practically invented threaded messaging), or iMessage.
    2) No MMS or any way to send pictures, not even thru Google Talk.
    3) Should fully integrate with Android’s texting app to use data/text like iMessage (iMessage is easily the best text/data service there is and should be a baseline for this discussion). GTalk should also be integrated into one app/service. It’s all duplication for text communication.
    4) Slow/Buggy/Unresponsive app that barely follows Android 4.x design philosophy.

    Google Voice needs attention badly, it’s a good concept, but the implementation for the app is deplorable.

    • John Wentworth

      I have to agree, the only thing is does really well is voice-mail and maybe as a backup to make calls when out of the country. and before you judge, I use google voice for voicemail and I’ve tried to switch to google voice a few times, even gone as far as texting all my friends to use my new number, had to send out a text a few days later to revert to my cell number.

      Especially the non threaded sms/mms , before smartphone even existed I’ve owned feature phones that did threaded messaging.

      The features that people talk about, number portability doesn’t matter as cell phone number porting is dead easy. free texts and calls ,unless your using it on a cell phone without a sim that you use on wifi, almost all carriers provide unlimted talk/text these days.

      The simultaneous ring may appeal to some people, but most people are more and more only using a cell and ditching land-lines.

      and when push comes to shove unlimited carrier voice/text is more reliable and much easier to use, no workarounds, no explaining to someone please send pic via email because I don’t get mms, please it makes you look like your so poor you can’t even afford a decent cell phone plan. I don’t use MMS myself, but people I know still do.

  • JRomeo

    Sprint RUINS google voice……. you don’t need a carrier at all to use google voice……….. what happens if you have Sprint Google Voice, and then you want to switch to T-Mobile? or MetroPCS? you encounter MAJOR hassles…… its better to keep Google Voice away from carriers. Sprint could “give you” a Google Voice number, but they don’t give you the username/password needed for you to login to your google voice account online.

  • Brie

    I love not having a contract so my carrier is who ever has the best data at the cheapest rates. I can change carrier at a whim, yes this means a different phone number but when I add it to my Google Voice account my number actually never changes. This is going to be more important as many carriers prefer prepaid rather than postpaid accounts.

    • John Wentworth

      Do you know how dead easy number porting is these days? I’ve done it numerous times.
      even between prepaid carriers I’ve never had an issue, I like GV for voicemail but that’s about it.

  • John Wentworth

    I myself never jumped fully onto the google voice bandwagon. without full sprint type integration and lack of MMS. it’s too clunky to use for everything, Plus part of me doesn’t like putting an extra potential point of failure into receiving my calls on my cell and when trying to route calls over a data network, I was never happy with call quality.

    I do use it for what it’s incredibly good at, providing a free visual voice-mail service.
    Verizon charged like $3 for visual voice mail and my current mvno doesn’t offer it at all.
    Google voice saves me money on bigger carriers, and allows me to go to any mvno carrier that supports conditional call forward and still have my visual voice mail regardless of carrier support.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    I use Google Voice for prettymuch ALL of my texting, which is quite a bit. For some dumb reason I still pay for texting on my AT&T plan lol, that’s about to change. I’d be really upset if they gave Google Voice the axe. It works much better since I got Ice Cream Sandwich on my Galaxy Note and obviously works really well on my Nexus 4 that I replaced the Note with. This is an invaluable product and while I’d like MMS to work I’ll survive without it.

  • castlefox

    I have been loving Google Voice. Nothing out there compares to it.

  • NorthVandea

    I LOVE Google Voice, for me it is absolutely essential. I use Google voice for free texting and it is awesome for using it as a dedicated number for work calls, that way I can keep work calls and personal calls separate; also the Do Not Disturb function is really nice when I need a break from work ;)

  • joefresco

    This did strike a chord with me only because Google has killed several services I used all the time… Google Listen and iGoogle to name 2. If they killed GV, it would be worse than all the other killings put together. My GV # is my only #, and I’ve paid for permanence for a prior # also.

    My hope is that Google is getting enough ongoing benefit from GV (voice recognition development) that they won’t kill it. It would be weird for them to kill it also because every VZ user I know uses GV for visual voicemail.

  • storm14k

    Google Reader is underutilized? Seems to me this is like everyone’s first choice for feed aggregation. And it seems like many people know and use Google Voice. Hell I just had an Apple loving coworker tell me how to buy a device that can use Google Voice for home telephone service.

  • mickey4mice

    I’m not one of those jumping on Google just because GV doesn’t offer MMS. For me, GV’s real value lies in scheduling flexibility; when you have multiple lines, the ability to set individual contact/group ringing preference with blackout period is essential. As for the Android GV app, yes hopefully 2013 will bring about some significant improvements!

  • Newmexican

    I guess it depends on what you do with the service. For me it is a primary number on both wireless and landline.

    1. It provides cheap calls abroad

    2. it provides a single number to people to reach me, not needing to know if I am on my cell, at home or in my office OR what the numbers at each location are.
    3. It provides a landline number for people from Europe to call me without paying a premium to talk to me on my cellphone
    4. It’s voicemail service is superior to an providers service
    5. Being on T-Mobile’s WiFi calling I can make low cost phone calls in Europe, without need a local phone or phone number

    I can see that within the US, there are other options, but for me GV going away would be a desaster

  • Matthew Merrick

    Google Voice is the ONLY way to handle voicemail. I would be crushed if it went away

  • SAMSAMHA

    i agree that google needs to pay more attention to google voice. I use google voice as my only texting program and would hate to see it goes. I really think it has a lot of potential and google really need to push it and find a way to integrate it with the stock messaging service or have a much better app for it.

    I see google has been doing this quite often lately where they come out with some idea and then they just do not follow through. It is doing way too many experiments/labs and just kind of hoping it goes on its own course and hoping that it will hit bit and then they will start pushing it. Even if they do push it, they are just not doing it as aggressively as they can.

    • No_Nickname90

      I don’t want to repeat what you just said, but yea. There are times when my text messages don’t send on Sprint. This happens more often than not, so I would use Google Voice.

  • Leon Ghitis

    No question there are some great benefits to GV, like having an easy number that I picked with GrandCentral before, being able to call internationally from the cell phone,ertc.. However there are 2 serious problems with GV. One is the MMS and a new more important one: The number shown when dialed using GV is a random number and not the one that I dialed. It means that when I look at the log of history of calls, it does not show the real numbers I called. Has anybody else experienced that problem? It started with my new galaxy note 2 and T_ moble. Who is to blame?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2RNYN6FXTXCHJP7QVU52QEE7LM kemron

      It happens with me too, I think its googles procedure

  • http://twitter.com/ookees Anthony Ciuffini

    My two most used apps and services are Google voice and Google reader. If these two services get axed then its over for me. I need both of these services daily. I don’t want to use alternatives. I read this article through Google reader.

  • http://twitter.com/AtheistReverend TheAtheistReverend

    I pray they are just winding up for a major revamp and upgrade. I rely HEAVILY on Google Voice!

  • TBN27

    I never tried google plus because it was redundant for me. I thinking to use it as prepaid international long distance but i a using International talk and text for that. Plus if i am overseas, i use wifi calling and if i switch to a nexus 4 or iPhone 5, i will use bobsled or skype, which are free for that.

  • http://twitter.com/Malcivious Zac H

    Ugh, I can’t imagine my world without Google Voice or Google Reader. I use both almost daily. I don’t want carrier integration though… not something I need. My wife is finally on board with the Google Voice (now that she has it go to her work phone since she gets no cell service in her office.) What I’ve found though is that Google Voice is a service that I don’t ever want to be without, but is hard to get other people excited about.

  • http://www.techmantis.net/ Minja Miketa

    I would use it more if the messaging was better and it included MMS…I might switch it as my main number.

  • http://twitter.com/TheMaker3 The Maker

    Can’t live without Google Voice. The ability to spam block calls is priceless.

  • http://twitter.com/miikeg Michael Grabowski

    Maybe if it was available outside of the God damned United States us Canadians, or anyone else for that matter, would adopt the service, and they’d likely see a surge in popularity.
    I seriously always resent google for so frequently giving us Canadians the short end of the stick with some of its services (wallet, voice, etc.)
    We’re on the same bloody continent, why cut off a plethora of potential users all because of some border? Sheesh.

  • Paul Bogenschutz

    I actually love Google Voice and I’m an Iphone user. If they would just get MMS it would be a completely done deal for me. As it stands now I give out known Iphone user my carrier phone number and everybody else gets the GV number. It’s a slight pain, but it allows me to save on all Text charges from my carrier. It’s an evil I’m willing to deal with. If GV got MMS it would hands down be the only number people would ever get from me. I love the ability to block people on the fly and retrieve and search my voicemails via email. It’s oh so close to perfection in my opinion. Plus I can use WIFI for my phone calls which is a a god send when I’m indoors, which is practically all the time.

  • Max Struever

    While I would definitely like to see google voice continue to improve, I think it’s in a pretty awesome place right now. I was recently relocated to the Netherlands and between using the app for texting and calling through gmail and groove-ip or talkatone for free back to the US, it’s invaluable.

  • Tony Raffini

    On the contrary. I predict Google Voice will be Google’s killer feature in 2013. I go into detail about it here http://rottingroom.blogspot.com/2013/01/google-voice-google-plus.html