Google Voice gets a rare update, improves SMS delivery


Google Voice is a bit neglected in the realm of Google’s suite of mobile apps. I should know. The service gets so little love that even I forgot to set up the app on my most recent phone, resulting in three months worth of missed voicemails. But enough about my personal issues, Google has finally given us an update to Voice.

Don’t expect any major improvements or a UI overhaul implementing Google’s new card-based interface when you install the latest version of Voice, however. The changelog consists of a single item with minimal details. The update has “improved the reliability of SMS delivery,” and that’s it.

Now any improvement is a good improvement, so we’re happy just to see Voice get a little love. What Google’s plans for Voice will be down the road, that’s not as certain. Could the service be integrated into the rumored Babel messaging platform? Could it see deeper integration into the next version of Android? Or could it simply go the way of the dinosaurs? Let’s hope the latter option is not the case. For now, you can grab the latest update from the Google Play link below.

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  1. Glad to see the update. I really hope they keep this around, or integrate it with other services. I still use voice for voice and text. It’s an amazing service.

  2. read in the apk teardown that they found a new permission allowing other apps to read info from it. My guess is Babel integration.

    1. or regular 3rd party integration, letting others improve Google Voice, so Google can negelect it once more :P

      1. Or Google Glass integration.

    2. Link please. I’d love to read the teardown.

  3. Great, so I guess they’re never going to fix the volume problem (too quiet) or the playback problem (starts playing, stops, won’t play for a minute). Google Voice is the buggiest app on my phone, yet I rely on it; sad.

    1. What? Google Voice isn’t a media player. =.S

  4. more updates please google! along with google drive/ calendar this app is amazing!

  5. At least now we know Google hasnt forgotten about Voice. I depend on it; as I switch phones a lot with multi carriers; yet my friends never know since I give all the phones the same google voice number. Just wish they would figure out MMS.

    1. What do you do about MMS in the meantime?

      1. Its embarrassing but i tell friends I simply cant recieve MMS. I ask them to email. If I HAVE to send an MMS; I can turn GV off for that instant so it sends via regular telco.
        Though it is embarrassing i find it less of a problem now that a year ago. Most folk post photos directly to social media these days making MMS a bit less important.

        1. That’s what I assumed. I would love to just start using my Google Voice number, but the lack of a proper way to receive MMS kills me. I receive MMS from my GF, her mom, my mom, my sister, my friends, etc… I can’t imagine just telling everyone to specifically email me.

          I really hope come Google I/O they resolve a lot of issues with Google Voice. It’s such a good service that Google is apparently taking for granted. :(

          1. Is this because they can’t do email? I’m in Japan, and email is the norm except for the old, feature phones which are limited on some accounts to SMS only. I’ve never understood the desire for texts. Don’t they cost like $1 each? And internationally they are a problem?

        2. I use google voice to text and still get MMS sent to my phone, I’d rather use email though because I like the pics in full resolution.

      2. Snapchat for stupid photos you don’t want hanging around your phone forever and Social networks for sharing things of a lingering nature. Email for sending something that needs to be attached because you want full res. Where does MMS fit in?

      3. Usually MMS’s come to me by email. When I had Google Voice for my primary SMS service (Redundant?)

        So if someone sent me a picture message, I just got an email instead. So I really couldn’t reply to it, but I was still able to get them.

        I wonder if you can send a picture message by email?

        1. How did you make it so MMS’es would come in through email when you used Voice for SMS?

          1. There us no how did I make it. They just always did. I only use Google Voice to backup my text messages. I don’t actually use it. Every now and then I’d use it as the main. That’s when Sprint isn’t sending my messages for some odd reason. And while leaving it on I’ll get MMS sent to my email. This may have something to do with the Sprint Integration.

    2. Voice works great. Why should they fix what isn’t broke?

      About it going the way of the dinosaurs though… Don’t even speak of such things.

  6. *sigh* this service had potential. If only it turned something like iMessage. It can’t even properly maintain one thread per contact.

    1. You speak the truth. I HATE how it splits messages. And it’s so random. It just decides to split the message. It angers me.

  7. It would seem more likely to get integration with Android rather than integrate with Babel. However, even Android integration isn’t likely. Here is why. Android is available throughout the world. Google Voice is United States Only. Google Voice also uses a call gateway system when you use it to make calls. When you call 123-456-7890, it may call 344-112-4893 which therefore uses the system to spoof the CID system to show your GV number. Because of this, the call doesn’t carry over a data connection such as what GTalk might do. Babel will likely replace GTalk (and hopefully integrate with other IM services), but since Google Voice isn’t a service that someone beyond the United States can use, it will likely not be a part of the Android OS.

  8. Voice is my main texting service and I use it’s number as my main number. If it gets scrapped, I will be very miffed.

  9. So, I don’t know if people have perhaps forgotten, but Google has never said that its Voice service will give free SMS messaging forever. It’s primary function is for voice services (really??). I make all my international calls through google voice, it’s cheaper than skype, and works flawlessly.

    1. Carriers offer unlimited texting with like almost every option. SMS’s are small. I know those numbers do build up with the billions that are probably being sent, but I don’t expect that. Not saying it can’t happen though.

  10. I started using Messaging + Google Voice from the Play Store simply because I find the Google Voice interface to clunky with multiple threads for the same contact. I don’t even use carrier messaging, so the only benefit I get from the app is the interface, which is identical to the stock messaging app.

  11. Voice permission changes allow my glass app communication.

  12. seems app prepped for Google Glass. Hope this means gvoice isnt going anywhere.

  13. It’s good to see they are still updating the app, but since I ported my main number to Google Voice I’ve been pretty disappointed. I really hope Google integrates Google Talk and Voice intro Chrome and Android to do a iMessage sort of system. When I was using Mighty Text I got spoiled being able to receive and send texts via the browser plugin.

  14. Can’t believe that this app is still not available in Canada…

  15. Doubt it will go the way of dinosaurs. If they intend to do that they wouldn’t bother with an update now. I suspect there is plenty of internal updates for something more later. Its probably a test run right now for them to do some testing and get some metrics for whatever they intend to do with voice.

    1. Google released an update just before abandoning Goggles, so I don’t believe your assumption is correct.

  16. They better keep GV around for a long time. I use it exclusively for text and voice.

  17. Reliability? Have people been having issues sending messages? *laughs out loud* On Sprint my messages wouldn’t send some time for random reasons. So I would go to Google Voice and just send it over the 1X data. Luckily SMS messages are very small.

  18. Interestingly, I’ve had it since inception, and just this week (yesterday in fact) gave it up. I could care less about MMS (prefer email for pics), but lack of 3rd party integration, finally pushed me over the edge. Along with hearing they are leaving GV for later updates on the rumored Babel.

    Add to that, all of the abandonment Google has been doing, and given that they have pretty much ignored GV, I figured they’d bne abandoning it.

  19. Absolutely no reason for MMS to work through Voice. Kik and Snapchat takes care of all that for me.

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