Experiences with Google Voice as a main number

Posted Jan 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm in Threads > Opinions

A little background….I got my Nexus 4 at the beginning of December. I signed up to the $30 T-Mobile Pre-Paid Plan (Unlimited Text and Data with 100 minutes) and ported my number from Sprint over to Google Voice ($20 fee).

Calls
The idea behind the $30 minute plan was to use Groove IP to route the majority of my calls over data. In theory, this sounded great. With T-Mobile 4G all over DFW, I figured I could make it work. I found out pretty early, that unless you are stationary, the voice calls over data have been decent at best for me. Most people report that I sound like I’m in a web tunnel. The majority of the time there is either a big delay or my voice gets completely warbled where the person on the other end can’t make out anything I’m saying. The dialer screen isn’t as good, and I don’t get the big high res contact pictures when calling people. Honestly, this hasn’t really been a deal breaker for me because if I am connected to WiFi, or stationary, the calls have been pretty good. If anything, it has taught me I don’t NEED to be on the phone when I’m on the go. The $30 trade-off has been nice.

SMS/MMS
My biggest issue with this route has been with SMS. I wanted to use my stock messaging app to send texts. I like it better than Google Voice’s actual app for messaging. I downloaded GV SMS Integration which allowed me to do just this. This along with GlowFly worked well to integrate the two apps and allow me to send and receive SMS from my Google Voice number in the stock app. The problem was, I was ALWAYS receiving duplicate notifications. Even when I turned off notifications in Google Plus, they both arrived in my stock SMS inbox. This caused me to accidentally reply using my T-Mobile pre-paid number on more than a few occasions with replies immediately saying “who is this?” I decided this was enough of a nag that I would uninstall GV SMS Integration, and just use the Google Voice app for messaging. Unfortunately, as the reviews say, even after uninstalling, the integration is still present and I am still getting duplicate notifications. On top of that, the way Google Voice messaging works is just annoying. Each contact doesn’t have their own thread. Multiple threads get started and there doesn’t seem to be a way to merge them. Also, no MMS. Come on Google.

It felt like it was going to be a good idea and work, but honestly has made it quite frustrating. I’m thinking of switching to Solavei or Straight Talk now and porting my number back to the carrier.

Anyone else have an experience with this? Suggestions?

  • www.phonewbie.com

    I went a different route with my Google voice number. I chose to go with the Talkatone app which allows you to get a single number that you can call and text from. You can send and receive pics and receive voicemails as well. You will receive a text n email notification but if you register the acct under a gmail account that you don’t use you can just disable the email notifications. Check out my experiment here: http://bit.ly/Td9ROC

    • ju

      But does virg mobile also chg me talk time making using talkatone pointless????thx

  • Tommy

    I configured Google Voice to let the stock messaging app receive incoming texts. Google Voice assigns a routing number to each sender as the incoming number. I then add that routing number as “other” under the contact. Going forward, I am able to texts to that number through the stock messaging app, and recipients see my Google Voice number.

  • Gabe

    I’ve been using Google Voice for a while now and overall I am happy with the service and the features but I’m surprised that it’s not more polished by now and I’m worried that Google is debating on weather they want to push forward with Google Voice.I own a HTC One X and a nexus 10 in addition to a laptop and like that I can get notifications on all devices but I would like the notifications to be synced. For example, if I check a notification on 1 device I don’t want the notification to still appear on the other devices.I also agree that the Google Voice app really needs to be upgraded. And why do I need to install another app to make calls using Google Voice on a tablet? why haven’t they added that feature to the Google Voice app? I too was hoping to reduce my monthly payments by only paying for data but it seems as if there are still plenty of kinks in the way. And what about those times when you’re not in a 3g or 4 G area.? I hope this conversation keeps going because I would like to learn more about how other people are using Google Voice.

    • Melissa

      As for GV not pushing forward with new GV feature, I can’t help wondering if they are using GV mainly to enhance their voice recognition service(s), or perhaps as an ongoing experiment for a future GV-only smart phone.

  • Melissa

    I tried the wifi-only Google Voice route for about 2 months. I was using Talkatone and Groove IP interchangeably but never at the same time. There were too many problems with dropped and choppy calls while I was using my employer’s wifi connection, which admittedly is pretty spotty in the first place. I had and still have a spare Tracfone that I was using when needed when I was out of wi-fi range. Although I had problems with the voip connection, the main reason I stopped my wi-fi-only GV “experiment” was my growing obsession over finding wi-fi connections. It wasn’t worth the mental aggravation. I went back to a $35 monthly Virgin Mobile account, but I still use my GV number.

    As for GV reliability, I’ve been using a GV number for probably 3 years or so and have had very few problems with getting my calls. SMS messages sent to my GV number are forwarded to my cell phone, and I don’t know of any dropped messages.

    But what I love about GV the most, aside from the free portable number, is the free home phone service. For over a year I have been using an OBi adapter which lets me use a regular phone at home with my GV account for free outgoing calls, resulting in free home phone service (aside from the purchase of the adapter). I couldn’t be happier. :)

  • Jimas

    @OpenIntro, I really feel for your pain with GV SMS Integration after uninstalling. I also used it temporarily but eventually uninstalled it like you, and I did remember you have to do something special…and I was able to dig up a user review that said this:

    “And there’s a warning when you install that you have to disable integration before you uninstall. And if you forget, then reinstall, disable and uninstall again. (I’m not the dev, but I did figure all this out in 2 min)”

    Hope that helps!

    In terms of GV itself, I’ve been just using the Google Voice app and my GV number is the only one I gave out. Been on it about 1.5 years and it’s great. I still use my phone’s dialer (calling out as GV number) so am using carrier minutes. But I’ve been having no text plans for a long while now and it’s been great.

    As for Google’s plans for GV…it is disappointing that there hasn’t been updates for a while, but my hunch is that they’re working on merging all of the various messaging/calling services that they have (Gtalk, Google voice, G+ messenger, G+ hangout, etc.). I remember reading that someone at Google mentioned this too, but it’s probably no small undertaking. Although now with Facebook messaging and VOIP calling available, I’m sure Google will be going after this all the more.

    • ortodoxa

      I am glad I found this forum!! I just purchased a Tmobile Prism and got the $30.00 plan which I love!! I am an android and google fan. With my previous phone I had Puretalk $10 prepaid and I was able to receive my GV texts to my prepaid number and was able to response just fine. My prepaid # never appeared, only my GV number. Then when I got this Prism because I missed my Nexus 7, I installed Groove IP and I LOVE IT!! I am able to save my minutes since I am usually at home, at the university library, and starbucks always under WIFI. THE PROBLEM is that I don’t get text messages to my phone anymore. When you mention disable integration, forgive my cell phone illiteracy but I have no clue. I have reset my phone to factory, I test my GV sms messaging and it works. The minute I download the Groove IP application then I stop getting text messages to my Prism. Help!! Also, if I download Google Voice application from they Play store then I can get all my messages but I am not sure if this would finish my 5G from Tmobile quicker. Am I making any sense? Thank you

  • SkiDog

    For duplicate texts, try this which I cut and pasted from another site. It’s for a Sprint customer but I think it will work for any carrier (and don’t knock the service until you’ve learned everything about it. I thinks it great!):

    If you have Google Voice integrated into your Sprint number, the way to stop receiving duplicate text messages is to first go to http://google.com/voice then log in with your Google account.

    Secondly, go to the Settings (the little gear icon in the top right) & select Settings. By default, the open tab should be on Phone. Look for “Sprint Mobile Phone” section (make sure this option is checked!) & UN-check both of those boxes below it. It will auto-save so there’s nothing to press afterwards. If you leave the box checked that says to receive text messages on this phone, you’ll receive duplicate text messages. One will come through Google Voice & the other one will be sent to your phones native messaging app, hence double messages. This you don’t want.

    And I know I’ve read about some people complaining of receiving a text message that says they have a new voicemail waiting, the second checkbox takes care of that headache as well.

    Then log out, you’re done with that part. On your phone, go to Menu, Settings, scroll to the bottom, System Update. Update your profile. Let it update.

    You’re now finished. There should be no more duplicate text messages if you have Google Voice integrated with your Sprint number.

  • MisterLee

    I’ve been using GV for some time now… I had 2 lines and wanted to cancel one. My main number was out of contract so i ported it to GV. I’ve never had a problem with the app. I love being able to text from my tablet (which is where i do the majority of my texting) and the computer.

    No one knows my actual phone number. So as soon as my contract is up ill be adding hspa to my Nexus and getting me a cheap little phone . $35 from Virgin mobile sounds pretty nice.

  • John

    I have been using a Samsung Exhibit ii 4G with Google Voice and I have GrooVe IP. Ever since I installed Google Voice calls were directed to the GV voice mail by default. It’s great because I don’t have to pay mobile minutes to retrieve my voice mail. A few weeks ago, however, incoming calls to my cell phone wound up at t-mobile’s voice mail system. How do I reset the phone so that incoming calls (even to my t-mobile number) will automatically be relayed to Google Voice? I don’t know what caused this glitch but i want to get the Google Voice voice mail up and running again.
    thanks in advance!

  • jay

    Been using gvoice abd groove and talkatone for yrs….talkatones awsome with gvoice integration all in one but constantly fc in 4.0+….my tablet is my ONLY phone but im ina big city with great clearwire coverage….so I use clearwire 4g hotspot for on the go

  • Jeph

    I just ported my Samsung Epic’s (Galaxy S) cricket phone number over to Google voice. I’m using a Freedompop hotspot (free 500mb/month) for 3g/4g connection to Gvoice.
    I tried using talkatone, worked ok over wifi, but call recipients complained of harsh distortion, dropouts, and echo over 3g. Tweaking settings helped echo, but the clipping/distorted squelch made me ditch it.
    I’ve been using Groove IP (lite/free version) for a week now, after tweaking settings I have usable 3g calling. They say I sound a bit like a CB radio (mic overload, even though its at the lowest setting), and there’s a 1-2 sec delay, but it works. 4g is a bit better, less delay, and over wifi the delay is 1 sec or less and only mild “CB” tone.

    I also tried the Vonage app, which promised great features but now doesn’t connect any calls.
    For SMS, I can’t seem to find a decent app that doesn’t require the recipient to also have that app. Talkatone can text any number, but I can’t have it and GrooveIP running in the background all the time, kills battery and makes my 1ghz processor hot during calls.

    I really wish Gvoice would get their sms together. Simplify the GUI, eliminate double notifications, and just WORK. I’d pay $10/month for that. :P

  • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

    FWIW, Cyanogenmod 10.1 has a new feature called Voice Plus, which integrates Google Voice messaging into the stock messaging app. BIG improvement. Still no MMS though.

  • TimK

    I too have the Tmobile $30 plan w/Google Voice and Talkatone setup. Talkatone quality is very good with the “premium” ($2 per month) service with WIFI/4G/3G. Hate paying extra, but unlimited voice for $2 per month is worth it in my book. I use the 100 min for the times that I am in “edge” country, which is not very often. Newest version of Talkatone does a better job with texting interface, but still doesn’t approach a Handcent or Go SMS. I am happy with this setup and will keep it – at least until Republic Wireless gets a phone that I can live with.

  • Luke

    Kids…. if u don’t want to spend a cent, you 1- start a google talk account. 2. Get google voice, set it up if it’s new. 3. Go on a desktop and configure all your settings to your liking, be sure to look at everything in the settings Cuz the littlest missed thing can mess up your whole shiÏ€, I’d do this on a desktop because usually desktop versions have more options and is looked at as a mothering system to your Android ( I feel ). K so u got google talk AND google voice on BOTH your desktop AND your android…. 4* get talkatone, quick gander at settings, tweak, talk, text…. oh yeah arsend and recieve pics! .,-=*+√} THATS THE FREE WIFI way*~NOW IF U HAVE A TABLET, COUPLE DROIDS, LAPTOP, AND A DESKTO ,P., u probably have 20$ 30$ to 50$ a month to spend on internet and data for everything up there I listed rite,…. checkout all your cellluar companies in your area, look at coverage, amount of data, (how many gigs) and how much $ it’d cost u for the best coverage for the most gigs at the lowest price, there’s some equasion for that Im sure…. but then, so u figure that out, then go on Craigslist and look for the portable HOTSPOT device for your carrier u picked, buy it, set up that Shit, and u got web and data , on phones, tablets, laptops,and desktops, all your stuff, and u can bring it with u anywhere, talkatone evrything, use chrome for your browser, I love it, and download Chrome to phone AND phone to Chrome and your life is just…. hmm hard to describe… in a state of tranquil, organized, comphort. Just put your trust and love with google, they obviously got your back, admit it, probally more then anyone you know! Everythinthey do is to help you threw life in a cool, creative innovative, Mind opening kind of way, wanot to,… well I hope not……. to collect every Lil pie info about yoursemlf f and Judge if yogoogle info d data sent up to their standards of what a worthy an is

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  • Joseph

    Give the app SparePhone a try. It is a one time fee, and I feel the quality of the phone call is better than Talkatone and GrooveIP.

  • Joseph

    IPhone users are able to make true data-only phone calls with the latest update to iOS 7. They can make the phone calls to other iOS 7 devices via the FaceTime audio feature (which exists right alongside the classic FaceTime video feature). They can also call non-iOS 7 devices using Goggle Hangout. Android users like me don’t get that much love yet. Google promises true data-only phone calls via Google Hangout in the future. (see http://phandroid.com/2013/10/18/hangouts-free-voice-calling-update-ios/)

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  • Cherie banks

    I have my GV number ported into my cellphone when I go to answer it and I am supposed to hit the 1 to except it, it usually hangs up before I get to hit the one. It can take up to 15 calls before they get through…is there something I can do or is it my phone or phone carrier???(which is virgin mobile)

    Thank you
    Cherie

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  • ccclapp

    If anyone is still looking at this, here is my solution/workaround…

    Issue: if using GV on Android some apps e.g. phone and others, except GV app (and possibly except hangouts works, but I dont like it), will send SMS with your carrier caller # and not your GV #, because GV cannot be set to the default sms app. the way to fix this is…

    NOTE: the following assumes you never want your carrier # to show for sms and that you only want your GV # to show

    1) delete any sms aps: settings -> apps ->(pick the app)-> uninstall
    2) disable hangouts: settings -> apps ->Hangouts-> disable
    3) make an sms from contacts or 3rd party dialer etc (I use exDialer)
    4) you get a choice to send sms via GV and possibly other choices such as Skype. Select GV, and select always
    Note: if you have any other SMS apps e.g. messenger, messaging, etc THESE MUST BE UNINSTALLED, otherwise after 1st use, sms will revert back to these.
    5) from now on, sms will be sent via GV # (because there are no other installed options to override GV for SMS). (again is there are other options, Android will revert to those soon)
    Note: I find the native Phone app, thinks there is no sms available so no option to send sms from phone app. As stated above I use exDialer for many reasons and that gives option for sms or call. If done as stated above sms will be via gv#, not carrier #.

    (Side Note: the main reason I use exdialer is to be able to search like on iOS, meaning a few letters of 1st or last name, then a few of the other and/or few letters of any note/address or other criteria. This is in contrast to most Android phone/contact searches, which are far less flexible. that is an aside from the topic at hand, but others may want to know)

    The result of the above is to maintain all sms via GV # and stay out of hangouts.

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