11
Feb
messagegvtiny

Google Voice is a great service burdened by a lack of support, integration, and easy way to sign up (unless you're on Sprint, of course). Those who do decide to jump the hurdles and either get a brand new number—or port their existing one to Google—will find themselves in an uncomfortable paradise. On the one hand, you can text from your desktop, tablet, or phone completely for free which is awesome. On the other hand, you have to use the Google Voice app, which is not that great. 'Messaging + Google Voice', however aims to alleviate that problem a bit.

messagegv1 messagegv2 messagegv3

With this app you get what is essentially the stock Messaging app. However it adds the option of sending and receiving messages from your Google Voice account. Depending on what carrier you have and how you text, this could result in a single, consolidated SMS experience. There are, however, a few caveats:

  • You won't see text messages you sent from other devices. We're not sure if this is a bug or just something the developer doesn't have enough access to implement. However, if you send a text message from your PC, for example, you'll get replies to your phone, but you won't see your own message there.
  • Other people will still have to MMS your other number. Unless you're on Sprint. In most cases you actually have two phone numbers. Your GV number and your individual handset's number. Only the latter can receive MMS*. While it will all appear in one stream for you, the sender will need to distinguish between the two.
  • Change the default behavior in Settings unless you want to get asked how to send a text every time. This isn't a caveat so much as a reminder. Oddly, the dialog box in the center screenshot above doesn't have a "use this as default" option. It's mildly annoying when I know I want to send a text with GV every time (especially since I'm on Sprint, so both of those numbers are the same). This can be changed in Settings, though.
  • The notifications are still a little wonky. I got a notification about a picture message, but it came in via the stock Android app, not this one. The icon in the shade is identical, however, so I ended up jumping to the stock app without realizing it. This isn't a huge deal, and would really only affect people on unskinned Android, but it's worth pointing out.

It's not perfect, but under the right circumstances, this could be a great way to simplify messaging for GV users. The app is much faster than Google Voice and that's reason enough. However, what's even cooler is that it doesn't require a GV number. So, if you just want the stock Messaging app on a skinned device, this would work for you, which is a better reason than any to download it.

The app is free to install, however what you're getting is only a trial run. After you send or receive 30 messages via Google Voice, you will be prompted to purchase a Pro license for $4.99. This certainly seems a little steep. On the other hand, there aren't many options out there that support Google Voice. Then again, if you don't use Google Voice at all, you won't ever leave the trial period, and it will be free forever. Further proving that the best possible use-case for this is to replace whatever skinned Messaging app you have on your phone. The stock version really is quite nice.

*Ignoring the very weird cases involving a Sprint number sending an MMS to another Sprint number and an email goes somewhere or something. Honestly that implementation is so confusing that we still regularly get tips from people who are shocked and think Google finally added picture message support for real this time. I'm a Sprint user and I still have no idea how it works.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Matthew Fura

    This isn't needed on 4.2.1. I haven't done anything custom at all, but all my GVoice texts come into the stock messaging app as well. Don't need to change anything. Only thing I'm not sure of, is when I reply, what number it's coming from. Need to check on that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=57902506 Jason Brian Chapa

      Are you on Sprint with GV integration?

      • iamnid

        Same here. Comes straight to my stock messaging app. I'm on Nexus 4 with Straight Talk

    • John Sou

      It is needed for some, because we use google voice as a substitute for our texting plan. So if our google voice text also goes through the stock messaging app, it counts as a text from our carrier, which defeats the purpose of using voice in the first place.

    • Justin Winker

      When you reply to a message that was sent to your GVoice number, it's sent from your GVoice number. You can't start a new thread within the messaging application through your GVoice number, though, it has to be started through either the GVoice app or by someone sending a message to your GVoice number. I wish it were more streamlined (like this app), but I'm in no way going to pay $5 for this to happen (it's not that much of a hassle).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      While that may be true (and I say "may" because frankly this is such a mess it seems impossible to sort it all out), most people are not on 4.2.1. In fact most people aren't even up to 4.1, so this is still something that works pretty well for a lot of users. Good to know about 4.2.1, though.

  • CaliLove310

    What's the difference between downloading this and setting Google Voice to receive messages through the stock messaging app? Seems like they do the same thing. Why download an app for something I can already do?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=57902506 Jason Brian Chapa

      With that option, they don't come from the original number. They come from some phantom number that only makes sense to GV.

    • http://twitter.com/BlaqkRoxstar ناثانيل غراهام

      Yea GV messages can go to the stock app but since I don't have an sms plan I get charged per message sent and received. With this app at least I have the option to choose GV or my carrier.

    • Edward Rubio

      The main difference I have found is that there is no way to initiate a message from within the stock app and have it send via GVoice. I just played around with it and receiving/replying will come from the correct number, but creating a new message will result in the phones primary number, and not gvoice number.

    • Wayne Randall

      The difference is $5 apparently. Voice sends my SMS to stock already.

  • ProductFRED

    The latest Google Voice app actually integrates into the system just fine, and no longer displays a random number. It hooks into your contact list. You still have to initiate the conversation from the Voice app to actually create thread in the Messaging app, but after that, it's like using it normally.

    I'd also like to say that Voice DOES have pseudo-picture messaging support. You can receive MMS through email. The Voice app will show that you got an MMS and you'll get it in email form in the associated Gmail account. That's what happens to me every time.

    If you want an alternative to this mentioned app, Aerize is a good one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=57902506 Jason Brian Chapa

      I tried that and it doesn't work for me. Still shows random number.

      • Justin Winker

        Agreed, I still get a random number. Maybe he's on sprint?

        • ProductFRED

          I'm on Straight Talk AT&T.

      • andy_o

        What version of Android are you guys on? I tried with JB on the N4 and the random number thing is no longer true. (Not that this means I'm having the same level of success of the guy above in integrating GV.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/mikelierman Michael Lierman

          Not sure what on earth you're smoking but I just tried it. I activated my phone as a mobile online just to try this. I'm using Galaxy Nexus running latest Android 4.2.1 w/ latest Google Voice app. When I have it receive via Messaging app, it still does the phantom number thing. Maybe you added that phantum number to your contacts? Have someone send a text to your Google Voice number, someone that has never texted you before and it will do the phantum number thing and then at the beginning of the text it will display their name or a number and then the message. Like so: "+15555555555 - Hello my friend"

          4.2.1 Does NOT fix anything. Either you are on Sprint, or are smoking too much weed. GV does not integrate into anything except Sprint. I promise you.

          • andy_o

            I almost didn't write to say I was wrong just because you are unnecessarily being an asshole. But I was wrong.

          • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

            I'm on Verizon and my Google Voice app connects and always has connected to my Google Voice app to my Contacts. I also have a Galaxy Nexus. Sometimes it pops up with just their number at first but it usually auto corrects, especially if it's not someone I don't text a lot.

    • http://cassidyjames.com Cassidy James

      Are you on Sprint?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

        I find it hilarious that every time someone finds success with something Google Voice related the people ask "Are you on Sprint?" lol

        Shows how fragmented Google's apps are, support wise. I mean look at Google Wallet, and Google Voice. Only limited amount of carrier integration and support.

      • ProductFRED

        No. Straight Talk AT&T, but now I realize that the reason I can receive MMS through email is because the only friends who MMS me happen to be on Sprint.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      I've had the MMS come through to my email before but I'm not sure it's consistent. I may be wrong though can others confirm. I'm on Verizon BTW not that I think that matters here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/saramon123 Jeremy Lowry

    If you use Google Voice and want to use a stock messaging app, why don't you just set the option on Google Voice (via PC), and select "Receive messages on this phone", that is what I am doing currently...

    • http://twitter.com/BlaqkRoxstar ناثانيل غراهام

      If you don't have an sms plan you get charged per message if you do that.

    • epsiblivion

      if you reply, does your gv number show or your actual cell number show on the other end?

      • Justin Winker

        Your GVoice number shows, as long as you are replying to the message that was sent to your GVoice number. I think there might be a setting or two you have to adjust for this to happen (but I'm not sure, I configured mine a long time ago to go through the stock messaging app).

    • Tommy P.

      On top of that, I have started saving the GV-assigned number for each contact as "Other" so that I can compose new messages to people through the stock app using my GV number.

  • http://twitter.com/jahf Geoff Baysinger

    Since I've got unlimited texting (though I may change that someday), I just use their GV SMS ability. None of these are the best solution but so far that one has been my favorite.

  • Rick

    I tried GV for texting. Sent an email and text message to one person every time. No help in forum. No help period. Forget about it. Tablet Talk works great!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.fronda Fronda Lishous

    I was looking for something EXACTLY like this! Android never disappoints ;-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Lehman/1321902066 Dustin Lehman

      Figures this exact app I have been waiting for arrives the same exact day I change my texting plan to the max.... I prefer Google Voice over carrier SMS

  • kamiller42

    "and easy way to sign up (unless you're on Sprint, of course)."
    Yea. In that case, it's easiest. Thanks to Google and Sprint's partnership, I found it a breeze to switch to GV. Text messages in GV appear in messaging app too, except MMS of course. I just use Handcent and all of the texts are echo'ed onto GV, again, except MMS. Not the other way around though.

    On the other hand, I agree that GV is overdue on some Google love. Transcription is terrible. The GV app is slightly better than the calculator app in most desktop OSes. MMS, please! Group texting would be nice. And on and on...

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.fronda Fronda Lishous

      I agree whole-heartedly. I just have a hard time with full conversations appearing in GV / or Messaging all - so that's annoying. It's usually on whatever client I decide to use

  • Magnus100

    I'm on Tmobile and I've been using GV since the Nexus One days. I have no idea what people are complaining about as the GV app has always forwarded my text messages to my Text messing app so all my text messages have always appeared in both places. The problem I've had is with MMS on GV.

  • JG

    I'm curious, those who claim GV integrates with the stock text app on JB.... Does it work with third party text replacements (like Go SMS) as well, or is it just the stock app that can reply to GV messages? If just the stock app, I'm assuming it is now usable as opposed to the stock app back in Froyo/GB days..

  • Rick Fisher

    Long time Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile avid Google Voice user. I'll try to clear up the MMS thing:

    Send MMS:
    You're on Sprint, sending to any network: works. they use sprint as a backend for this. (requires sending through messaging app, not google voice)
    You're on another carrier, sending to any network: Nope. Sending through messaging app will send through your real carrier, and your real number.

    Receive MMS:
    You're on Sprint, receiving from any carrier: works. they use sprint as a backend for this. (you receive the mms in your messaging application, not online. you do not receive emails with pictures attached)
    You're on any network, receiving from Sprint customer: works. You get a notification in GV, and an email with the picture attached.
    You're on another carrier, receiving from another (non-Sprint) carrier: doesn't work. You get no notification of message received, no email, and they get no message saying you cant get MMS. All you get is a friend that's mad at you because you never responded to their hilarious, well thought out picture.

    To sum: If you're on sprint, it works all the time. If you're not on sprint, you can receive from sprint customers only and send to no one.

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

    Am I the only person who thinks SMS and Facebook messages (because everyone has it and can access via any device) are more than enough?

    • Tyler Style

      Definitely not; they're only good for short messages without attachments or inline images.
      Plus, there are huge privacy concerns in terms of sending messages via Facebook (never mind the ones entailed by actually installing their app on your phone).

      • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

        Hehe, am I the only one who thinks Facebook isn't actually spying my personal life? There's no point in such statement...

        Also there's e-mail.

  • http://twitter.com/cortez_ cortez.i

    i use GV for work and - if the app works as advertised - this will be perfect for me. having the option to (a) use one app to manage text messages, (b) use one app to choose my cell or GV number to compose text messages and (c) NOT seeing the GV bridge number in text messages is a plus! definitely something i'd consider supporting.

    • yankeesusa

      Exactly. This is one reason gv is awesome. Great for a business and to keep things seperate.

  • duse

    The "Receive messages on this phone" option with the stock GV app is hardly adequate, as not only does it come from a phantom number that you have to assign to the contact, but it also prepends the contact's name to the message text - who wants to see that all the time? So unless you are using Sprint integration, that option isn't very useful. I figure it is provided more as a way to receive GV texts on a dumbphone.

    The GV website works great for texting, the Android app unfortunately frequently gets texts very late and has trouble syncing. I've been wanting a solution like this for awhile, but am not too interested in giving a random dev complete access to all of my texts and the other permissions. Considering GV is a closed system, I'm very curious what they're using to accomplish this. I'm a dev myself and have been wanting to work on this for awhile now with the goal of open-sourcing it so everyone could use it and improve it for free.

    • andy_o

      That's not true anymore, they seem to have been changing stuff behind
      the curtains a few months ago, which made me think actual GV integration
      could be coming, but they're certainly taking their sweet time. You
      will get the texts in the messaging app (I presume in 4.0+, don't know
      about pre-ICS) just like regular texts, but there are two problems, one
      is sending with your GV number (and not just for replies to other GV
      numbers like now) and the other is to separate the option to forward
      texts and calls to your phone in the GV website (see my other
      post
      .

      • duse

        I tried this on stock Android 4.2.1 and the texts forwarded to the stock messaging app all have the contact's name prepended to the message body. If you don't have this, either you're using Sprint integration, or this experience must not be uniform for everyone. Either way, that's how it is for me, so it isn't very useful. I would be fine with the GV app if it just received texts on time and self-cleared its new message notification when reading from another device like Gmail does. Normal threading would be nice as well. Long term, it would be nicest to get these features by just having it rolled into a unified app for both types of SMS as well as Google Talk.

  • nxtiak

    There's a similar app that's been released a long time ago, though u need to be Rooted, and it integrates Google Voice INTO the built in messaging app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mdrtools.apps.gvintegration

  • http://picasaweb.google.com/JTHolroyd/TileStoneWork JessSayin

    I totally missed why I would want this app. GV is great on my CyanogenMod 10 phone. All the downsides listed above with this app are the same downsides with GV on any phone. I don't get MMS messages and have minutes only, no texting on my phone plan.
    I don't see the need frankly.

    • yankeesusa

      The need that I see for me is having an sms and number that I can easily block people and also get transcribed messages, albeit not correct most of the time but still. Its good to have an option to use your regular number or your gv number. I love this feature. I didn't do the whole sprint integration thing. Thinking of activating gv voicemail again but so far I'm happy with sprint visual voicemail.

  • yankeesusa

    Ive been using gv on sprint since I got an android handset several years ago and for a while I stopped using it because of not receiving updated voicemail and messages due to sprint slow internet. But lately its been working fine. I keep my gv and sprint phone number seperate as it helps in my business and when selling stuff on craigslist. Plus it doesn't hurt to have 2 numbers one which is very easy to block people you don't want calling you. GV still has a lot of potential. Looking forward to more updates and added features.

  • http://twitter.com/KermitO Kermit O

    You guys need to be signal boosting "Fusion Messenger". It does pretty much all of the things that M+GV doesn't, and it's in free public beta right now.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=im.fsn.messenger&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDMsImltLmZzbi5tZXNzZW5nZXIiXQ..

    Namely, it syncs GV, has a nice HOLO interface, and even allows you to toggle between standard messaging and GV within the app with one click. It still needs a little work, but it blows M+GV out of the water, and it's not five damn dollars.

  • AGavin Woods

    Google seems to have a syndrome where their products are 75% completed. Google Voice is such an example. I'm a big google fan, but this is just the reality most of us google users have to face. I want to convert to google voice, but being that almost none of my friends and family use sprint (not do i), having no MMS capabilities is a show stopper. Another disappointment from Google