23
Apr
sprint-google-voice-300x193

Back in March, when we first heard about Sprint getting the Nexus S, we also heard about their fancy new Google Voice integration plan. The idea was simple: Let Sprint users do one of two things:

  1. Use their current Sprint phone number as a Google Voice number, enabling all of Voice's awesome features to be utilized without having to create a group on Facebook to give out your new number.
  2. Allow current Google Voice users to use their Voice number for their Sprint line without having to port the number to Sprint, because, a while ago, they went through the trouble of creating a Facebook group and gave everyone they know their Google Voice number so now nobody has their Sprint number.

Right now, they are still rolling this out on some kind of invitation schedule. Quite a few people have already gotten their invite, and quite a few more have not. I, for one, got my invite yesterday and promptly locked myself in my basement to start writing about my experience with this whole Sprint and Google Voice shindig to help you guys know what to expect and what not to expect.

To give you a little bit of background, it should be noted that I first signed up for Google Voice before it existed as it does today. Some of you may remember a service called Grand Central. I was in the beta testing of THAT, years before GV was a gleam in somebody's eye. It should also be noted that my Sprint phone number is the single greatest, easiest, most "the ladies want to call this" number ever. I had a rough choice to make. Eventually, though, I opted to use the Google Voice number as my main number and forget all about my awesome, ladies-always-be-callin' Sprint number. Fair enough. At the cost of MMS, I was getting an insane amount of new features. After a couple of years, I'd fully assimilated my Google Voice number as my full-time phone number.

Fast-forward to yesterday. I got the email that my Sprint number was now eligible to integrate with Google Voice. "Huzzah!" I said to myself, quickly beginning to question my own sanity, shouting into an empty room. "Finally, I can have my sweet, fly-honey-getting number back!" I then promptly put a stop to the speaking out loud to nobody. As soon as I logged into Google Voice, a prompt appeared telling me that I can switch on the integration. I was now faced with a choice: Stick with the number everybody has, effectively solidifying my inability to receive MMS forever, but not having to give out a new number, or take back that old Sprint number, dust it off, and start going on dates [editor's note: photo of Brad. --Aaron]. At first, I opted to keep my Google Voice number.

So I did it. I chose option 2. It was super easy. A link click here, a little reading there, and I was done in five minutes. I promptly uninstalled the Google Voice app on my phone and made a few test calls and sent a few test texts. It worked. My Sprint phone officially showed my Voice number no matter what - awesome. I did, however, begin wondering if I could live without MMS; I began to regret the death of my Sprint number. So I made one last final decision: I was going to switch my number back and deal with the shame of giving everyone a new number.

You see, Google understood that people like me inherently make bad decisions, so there is a grace period on your decision to integrate. If you're using your Voice number and (essentially) getting rid of your Sprint number, you can simply hit the "deactivate" link next to your Sprint phone in the setting menu of Google Voice. If you opt to use your Sprint number as your Voice number, though, that change is a bit more permanent. At that point, you have until July to decide if it was the correct course of action. After that, the transformation is complete. This is cool because people like me have trouble deciding, so my non-Sprint Google Voice number will still remain "active" (it can still receive SMS and calls) within that grace period. All my outgoing SMS and calls, though, will be using my new number. I can switch back at any time, but I probably won't.

So, at this point, I'm going for the red pill. I want my skirt-chasing Sprint number to be my Voice number. Because of my first course of action, I now have to re-add my Sprint phone to my Google Voice account. I've done it a thousand times, so this was no problem. After I added my phone back to my account (which failed the first time, effectively murdering my faith in my ability to carry this out), it was a pretty simple process to get my Sprint number to commandeer my Voice account. You click on the "Port/Change Number" link in the settings menu where you see all the phones you have on your account. You will then be prompted to use your current Sprint number. That's the option you want to use, obviously. As soon as you do that, it will ask you to log out and back into all Google Voice apps you have on all of your devices. Once you've done all of this, you'll see you Sprint number in place of your Google Voice number on Voice's main page.

enabledbysprint

That's totally my Sprint number under the larger black bar, by the way. You'll just have to take my word for it. Unless you are a hot lady who needs a makeout. Then you can totally ask for proof. You'll also get this handy indicator next to the phone's listing in the add/remove phones page:

voiceenabled

So there you have it - it's that easy, and it works flawlessly. It's been so long since I've used a stock messaging app or Handcent that I almost forgot how much better they are than the Google Voice app (no offense, Google. You're busy guys. I'm sure the app will be less hideous someday ;]). Sprint and Google did a great job implementing this. Overall, big thumbs-up to Google and an even bigger thumbs-up to Sprint for doing something I never thought I'd see a carrier do. You guys are awesome.

Brad Ganley
An Android power user, Brad consumes most of his free time with unhealthy amounts of cell phones and cell phone related things when he isn't playing with his son. Brad is also an avid movie-watcher and tea-drinker.
  • http://funkmon.info Funkmon

    I've integrated as well, and am using the stock (AOSP) messaging app. It doesn't seem that much better/more interesting than Google Voice! Should I move to Handcent?

    • Brad Ganley

      It's a matter of preference. I can customize handcent, so I automatically prefer it :)

    • Alex

      What happens if you are traveling within Canada with this service?

      • Tb0n3

        I'd like to know this too (canada).

  • Product F(RED)

    Not true. I chose Option 1 and was able to roll back. It still gives you 90 days to undo it. MMS went through fine (apparently it's still routed through Sprint) but the test picture I sent to my friend went through 5 times for some reason. Also, I didn't like that if I texted through GoSMS and had the Voice app installed and configured, I would get double notifications for texts. The solution was to uninstall the Voice app. Except then I would lose my Visual Voicemail. And there was my dilemma. So now I'm not using integration.

    • Brad Ganley

      "Not true. I chose Option 1 and was able to roll back. It still gives you 90 days to undo it. MMS went through fine"
      That's exactly what i was saying. If you keep your sprint number, you get mms. Not so if you use your GV number.

      Also, if you go into setting in the voice app, you can turn off notifications all together, then just check to see if you have voicemails periodically. That's what I'm doing.

      • Product F(RED)

        I kind of find that against the point of notifications; Google should implement an option in the app to notify you for certain things, like Voicemail for example. My primary reason for using Voice integration would be for the improved Visual Voicemail and being able to call and text from my desktop/laptop.

        • Brad Ganley

          I agree that you should be able to selectively enable and disable notifications, but, at this point, it's really the only option.

  • Xcom923

    I'm going to end up doing this as well. I do have a question though, for voice mails would it make sense to still have google voice installed? I guess we can set it to send an SMS when we get a voicemail but I do kinda use the transcribe thing. >_< I don't know what to do!!

    • Brad Ganley

      Yeah, I still have it installed. I just turned off notifications in the app. I may screenshot the process and add it to the article, as it seems to be a common concern

  • mw

    So, can you still use 3rd party voice mail services like YouMail?
    I assume you would just have to change the phone number listed on your account from your Sprint Number to your Google Voice number..

  • James

    When I first read about Sprint's plan to integrate with Google Voice, it sounded interesting. From the article here, I'm not sure it's something I really want to do though. It sounds like you have to basically give up one of your two numbers (Sprint or Google Voice) to get the integration, and I kind of like having two numbers that I can use for different purposes as needed. Can someone point me to more detailed information on the integration plan and what you get/lose with each of the two integration options? I've got some questions, but would like to read more about this before asking them (they may already be answered on some web site). Thanks!

    • Kane

      Why don't you just keep the old GV number and make a new GV account for use with Sprint?

  • Ryan

    Looks like 700-0777 (0s could be 2,3,8 or 9 though).

    Lots of 7s should reel the ladies in.

    On topic: I'm still waiting...

  • Brandon

    This seems like it totally defeats the purpose of having GV at least for me anyway. I like having two numbers at my disposal as someone else mentioned, some people aren't privileged enough to get my "real" number, so I don't think I will be going down this road either. When I heard GV and sprint were integrating I thought that meant the service would be integrated into the phone w/o the need for the GV app.

    • HamDog

      I agree 100%. Unless we're both missing something here. And although I've been using GV for over a year, I'm still skeptical of GV. I can't put 100% reliance on GV since there is no one to call if there's ever a problem. And I'm confident they'll be charging for GV sometime in the future. I don't want to get addicted to it and then have to pay a high price for my addiction. Tobacco and beers already have me by the balls.

      • Brad Ganley

        I'm pretty sure the entire point of Google voice is to have one, single phone number that connects all your phones. The whole having two numbers thing is completely backwards to the mission.

  • Donato Orlando

    There are problems with this if you have one of the 3G airaves. If you are connected to your airrave your phone won't ring.

    • mw

      are you sure about that?
      does anyone have the newer airraves and has this problem?

      • Donato Orlando

        I have one and have this problem, and so far 5 other people on Google's help forums have the same issue as me.

        • Donato Orlando

          BTW, I would blame this on Sprint since they have multiple known issues with their 3g airave and not a bad on google, because beyond this issue and the fact that I can't only turn off text notifications in the Google Voice apps, I'm very happy with it.

  • Dennis C

    Did they e-mail the invitation? I'm following the directions in their "help" section but it's still asking for $10 to change my google voice number and/or $20 to port my sprint number. Doesn't look like it's available for me yet.

    • Donato Orlando

      You had to have been given the invitation to get in now.

      • Dennis C

        Looks like I'll have to use that whole "patience is a virtue" lesson I was given as a child, then.

  • Korbin Collins

    This is cool, I have been looking for info on this...THANKS

  • richardyarrell

    Great concept sprint has had a great year. It's great to be a part of the Now network

  • hams1000

    I still need to know how billing works. If I make and receive calls through Gtalk or receive calls to another number, will Sprint bill me? There're conflicting reports after a quick Google search.

  • Jeff

    I opted to make my sprint number my gvoice number and after two days of not having handcent, I deactivated it. I love my gvoice, don't get me wrong, but I figured out I can't live without handcent.

    • Matt

      I don't understand. I did the same (Sprint Number became my GV #) and still enjoy using my replacement SMS application.

      Perhaps you had GV installed on your phone and was getting texts coming in as data. Solution is simple: Uninstall Google Voice and they will again come in as normal text sms.

  • mw

    is it just that you cant use a 3rd party text program, or, you can't text AT ALL??

    • Matt

      Neither.

      -You can use any text program you would use normally. Just uninstall Google Voice so they come in just once, as a normal text would.
      -MMS works just fine (outside of the GV application)

  • Jason

    I tried it and liked it, however I did have a few issues, well, really 1 MAJOR issue. All of my text messages were going through the GV app, downloaded from the app market. I could have delt with that, as it was not a major issue. The MAJOR issue was that I was not getting ANY of my phone calls. All my incoming calls were going straight to voice mail. I checked several times to make sure my Do Not Disturb was/was not checked, and it was not. Looked several times on the GV website to see that all was check correctly, and it was. I had to stop using the integration because of all my calls going to voice mail without even ringing my phone. Anyone have any ideas or know how to fix it so my calls do not go directly to VM?

  • mw

    one IMPORTANT question; when you leave Sprint as your phone provider, what happens to the google voice number that you used to "tie this together"? Do you lose your google voice number, or is it messed up because you no longer have your sprint cell line?

  • dadoten

    I have had two issues. I chose to keep my GV number as my phone number and discontinue use of my Sprint number. I decided to test my "old" Sprint number to see what would happen if somebody called it. Much to my surprise my cell phone did not ring...but my gmail chat "phone" did ring and then it went to voice mail! The second issue is that when I am video chatting in gmail, I do not get calls on my cell phone...calls just go to voice mail. Incidently, I have the new generation air wave. Any thoughts?

  • mw

    you are supposed to sign out, and some folks have said to uninstall the Google Voice app on your phone, if you havent yet.
    Here is the email they sent me today:
    "Hello,
    You have been invited to start enjoying the benefits of the Sprint integration before anyone else! We are interested in your feedback as we roll this out to the entire user base and have listed a link to a form where you can send feedback and/or questions.
    There are two ways to enable the integrated service:
    1. Option 1: Keep your Sprint number (all the benefits of porting without the need to). In this case, your Sprint number becomes your Google Voice number so that when people call your Sprint mobile number, it rings all the phones you want.
    How to enable this: click on the "change/port" link next to your GV # in the settings page, choose the option to use your existing number, enter your Sprint number and select the Sprint option.
    2. Option 2: Replace your Sprint number with your Google Voice number (all the benefits of the app without the need for one). In this case, all calls made from your Sprint phone will display your Google Voice # natively (same for SMS).
    How to enable this: click on the "enable Google Voice on your Sprint phone" link next to your Sprint forwarding phone. If the link does not show, click on edit and use the link to verify whether your phone is eligible.
    In both cases, Google Voice replaces Sprint voicemail (pressing one on your phone links you to your Google Voicemail) and international calls made from the Sprint phone will be connected by Google Voice. Integrating your account with Sprint means you will still get the benefits of Any Mobile Any Time if that is included in your service plan.
    Important Notes:
    The integrated service only works with a valid Sprint mobile number.
    For this early release, Sprint support channels will not be available for support, including Sprint Retail Stores, Sprint Customer Care, Sprint Telesales, Sprint Direct Sales Reps, etc.
    If you need support, or have feedback, please fill out this form
    If you use the Google Voice app on Android, you will need to log out and log back in to make sure the app stops using call interception.
    Thanks,
    Vincent Paquet, on behalf of the Google Voice team"