Google has been updating Hangouts a lot lately in an attempt to make it less terrible. It's definitely improving, but still has a way to go. With all the updating we've missed a few little changes along the way, and this is a particularly useful one—Hangouts will switch between the speaker and earpiece for voicemail depending on whether or not you've got the phone to your ear. Read More
Sometimes Google's voicemail transcription is good enough to get the point across, and other times it's a seemingly random collection of words that only make sense when you're under the influence of really great narcotics. But maybe no more. Google has announced that better transcriptions are rolling out with a 49% reduction in the error rate. This applies to both Google Voice and Project Fi. Read More
Voicemails are terrible. Anyone willing to sit through the message and talk to a machine rather than send you a text message probably doesn't have good news. Android M will make the whole process a little less painful with native visual voicemail. It's just a basic implementation in the preview, and it won't work on all carriers just yet. Still, pretty cool.
Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.
The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing. With the release of version 2.5, that apparently changed. You can now listen to voicemail with the screen dark or while using another app entirely, leaving the message to play in the background. Read More
Google will soon roll out changes to Voice intended to prevent unauthorized access to our voicemail inboxes. To access accounts via phone, you will now have to call from a verified forwarding number. If you're calling from a number Google doesn't recognize, you will be prompted to enter a verified number instead. In addition to this, PIN codes can now be up to 10 digits long. These changes will take effect starting on the first day of October, and anyone who signs in via a web browser should receive a notification giving them a head's up.
If you want to tinker with your phone forwarding or voicemail settings before these changes take effect, here are instructions for doing so straight from Google. Read More
Speak softly and carry a big user base. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but that might as well be the unofficial motto of WhatsApp. The cross-platform messaging service has been quietly spreading over the last couple of years, coming to every major mobile platform and gaining over 300 million active monthly users, according to AllThingsD. What's next for the quiet revolution? Voice communication.
Well, sort of - it's more like a short voicemail message, not a live two-way conversation. But the hook is that it's free, like the WhatsApp apps and its SMS-style service. (Users get a year-long free trial, then it's just a $.99-per-year subscription.) Today Push-to-talk messages have been enabled for all versions of the app on all platforms, allowing connected users to talk to each other with only the connection cost in their way. Read More
There are many VoIP clients out there for Android, such as Skype and Viber. They save users from having to place calls over their cell network, potentially using up minutes that they may not have. This behavior eats into carriers' profits, so it's no surprise that they'd prefer if we avoided putting these apps on our phones. It's more surprising, though, to hear that one carrier has chosen to make one of these apps themselves. Today Orange is launching Libon in the US, bringing over a product that was previously only available in Europe.
Libon supports free calling with other users over both WiFi and cellular data. Read More
The nation's smallest national carrier has to score points with customers somewhere, and providing free visual voicemail has been one of those places. Some of the big players charge Android users a monthly fee for this feature. Well, T-Mobile has to defray the monstrously large costs of making your voicemail easier to access somehow, right? In the newest version of T-Mobile's official visual voicemail app, it has chosen to include banner ads. The users are not amused.
Instead of showing you a full list of your messages, the UI cuts off the bottom and instead displays a banner ad. The content is the usual kind of spam you see in other apps: dating sites, free apps that want your data, and products you'll never use. Read More
Update: As promised, this update is rolling out now. Here is the official changelog, per Sprint's forums.
- Corrects voicemail notification issue (from 4.22.651.2)
- Corrects issue with hearing aid compatibility menu disappearing (from 4.22.651.2)
- Netflix compatibility (from 4.22.651.2)
You heard it here first, folks - the EVO 4G is receiving an update in just 5 short days to address two of the major problems that users have experienced after the jump to Gingerbread. Specifically, non-working Netflix (boooo), and odd Visual Voicemail notification behavior. The turnaround time in getting this update out is pretty impressive, considering the Gingerbread OTA landed just a little over 2 weeks ago. Read More