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Old 07-17-2009, 07:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Google Voice app - review & thoughts

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When I went to download the Google Voice app I looked for a review and couldn't find one.

There's a review out from CIO.com that covers the phone portion of the GV Blackberry app:

Google Voice for BlackBerry "Thumbs-On" Review - CIO.com - Business Technology Leadership

I will say that the app is better than the web interface. Cleaner, less hassle. So from that perspective, if you use GV on your Blackberry, you do want the GV app.

That said, the app's integration with the native Blackberry apps is very clumsy.

The phone functionality is good; I only wish I could assign GV to my green phone button. That's not a dealbreaker though (good, since I doubt that option will ever appear). I love that I can send any phone number I want to my BB, anytime, for free. I love reading my voicemails. I love that I can record my calls. I basically <3 GV for phone calls.

My major gripes are all about the way GV handles text messages. Which the review above doesn't cover. I get way more texts than phone calls, and I know a lot of you do too, so here's the scoop:

First of all, GV doesn't do text messages in real time. I get texts in GV anywhere from 1-10 minutes after they hit my regular BB inbox. That may be unavoidable; I don't know.

Second, all the text messages you get through GV go both to your GV app and to your regular message folder (or SMS folder, depending on your theme). There is, at present, no way with GV installed to get your text messages and text notifications to show up in one place only. Which sucks, because it means you'll be clearing notifications in two places.

Assuming you want texts only in GV: you can send your BB copies to the SMS folder and then hide that, but you still have to deal with the SMS notifiers from BB, which AFAIK you cannot completely turn off. You can choose between the red symbol and the message count, but you can't hide both. Making matters worse, at present GV doesn't use BB's notifiers at all. Your GV icon gets a little yellow star next to it when you have an unread message. You can't set profile settings for GV, however, or get any actual alerts (vibe, sound, etc.).

You could send your texts to your BB and hide them within GV by changing the GV "Inbox" tab to something else (there are 5 or 6 choices), but then when you hit "reply" from within your BB messages app -- even to messages sent to you through GV -- it replies using your BB phone number, not your GV phone number. Which completely defeats the purpose of having GV. There's no "Reply using GV" option from within the Messages folder when you select a message.

These are not complicated issues from a programming standpoint, so I'm hopeful that Google will update the app soon and fix these. In the meantime we GV users will be paying the high hassle fee for the benefits of having a consolidated phone number and keeping an online copy of all our communications.

So, my vote: do get the app if you want to use GV, but keep a very close eye out for updates.

Last edited by kathrynhr : 07-17-2009 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd like to add that when sending a text from within Google Voice it doesn't respect the Blackberry textual input rules. For instance, double space bar does not add a period and a space. After a period, the next letter was not auto capitalized. Auto replace also does not work - I have a rule to chance "im" to "I'm" and it left it as "im".
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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More problems:

Over the last few days, I've received a couple of errors to the tune of "Can't access Google Voice right now. Please try again later." when sending a text message.

Also, last night, it dropped a call twice. Not sure why this happened. I was at home and had good signal strength.

Hmmm...
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have had intermittent difficulties getting connected through my GV numbers from varying locations, including from land lines. The system is definitely still stabilizing...
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I found out when I had GV open on my storm my battery life was terrible.. ~50% within a couple of hours.. dead after 8-9 hours.. once I stopped the app from running.. 8-9 hours left I am at 80-85%.. HUGE difference for me.. so no BB GV for me atm..
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrynhr View Post
You could send your texts to your BB and hide them within GV by changing the GV "Inbox" tab to something else (there are 5 or 6 choices), but then when you hit "reply" from within your BB messages app -- even to messages sent to you through GV -- it replies using your BB phone number, not your GV phone number. Which completely defeats the purpose of having GV. There's no "Reply using GV" option from within the Messages folder when you select a message.
False, you can use the native sms software on the blackberry and respond to texts using your google voice nubmer. When you receive texts on your google voice number they should appear as coming from a 406-xxx-xxxx number. This is a unique number that is assigned to each phone number that texts you. All you have to do is add the 406 number to the contact that is sending you. now when you call or text the 406 number it will send from your google voice number. Very cool stuff. You can read more about it and speculation about what else may be possible at:
The Power of 406 - Google Voice Help

I have completely stopped using the google voice app for texts, I love the features of the built in software. The only thing that is missing is discovering a contacts 406-xxx-xxxx number before they text you. Basically have to get people to text you first then you can avoid using the google voice app for phone calls and sms'ing by changing all contacts to their respective 406 number.

Joe

Last edited by mo joe : 07-24-2009 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mo joe View Post
False, you can use the native sms software on the blackberry and respond to texts using your google voice nubmer. When you receive texts on your google voice number they should appear as coming from a 406-xxx-xxxx number. This is a unique number that is assigned to each phone number that texts you. All you have to do is add the 406 number to the contact that is sending you. now when you call or text the 406 number it will send from your google voice number. Very cool stuff. You can read more about it and speculation about what else may be possible at:
The Power of 406 - Google Voice Help
I figured out after I posted this that you can hit "reply" to the 406 numbers that come in. (And thanks for the link, BTW.) I still don't like that the Google Voice options aren't integrated with the BB software's menus. From the Messages app, you can't select "Reply using Google Voice" for a message. Which means extra steps when replying via GV to messages that weren't sent through GV originally.

Again, I'm looking forward to the next release of this software, and am hoping there's better integration with BB messaging.
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