I had a roommate a while ago that was completely addicted to Google. He was there when the first G1 came out with Android, and followed them ever since. He was adamant about their openness, their programs, their tools… everything. One of the things he signed up for was Google Voice. Intrigued by it, I too signed up and was accepted into their system. At the time, I was with Helio, and of course, it wasn’t very friendly with everything I had going for me. So I kept it on the back burner, but still retained it.
That was about a year and a half ago. Fast forward to last week. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I got the itch to get back into it. I think it’s because I’m moving, and would like to get a Magic Jack line. But instead of people needing to learn all of the possible numbers I may come across, I’ll just use GV to organize it for them.
Anyway, I start to toy with it with just a few of my friends. Figuring out how to make my GV number display when I call or SMS someone. Turns out, it can be a huge pain in the tuchas. For starters, in order to make a call without using the web interface, you must dial into GV (using your GV number), log in, select “make a call”, key in the person’s phone number (the actual number of the person, as you can’t do a look up based on your google contact list), and then it will connect you… Annoying, right? Just mildly. The quick work around is to program this as their contact number into your phone, and it looks like this:
G=Your Google Phone Number
2=Option to call a person
F=The Friend you are calling
,=My phones way of pausing
Now I need to go through all of my contacts just so I can utilize GV? OK, I can write a script to do this, and then sync it.
Oh, but what about texting someone?
You can’t text your GV number and then have the phone number it goes to as the first parameter. At first I was disappointed to discover this, but then soon realized that it would be an even bigger pain, since I couldn’t just program that into my phone for easability. Instead, I found that many people recommended to ship a text to the person using the web interface. On a response, you’ll get a phone number (owned by google), that when connected to your GV number will make a connection to your contact. That’s a long way to say that it maps out the following:
My Phone Number – My Google Voice Number – My Friends Google Translated Number – My Friends Number.
Keep in mind that “My Friends Google Translated Number” is probably shared among other GV subscribers. I don’t know (or care) how it works, just know that if you try calling the number NOT from a Google Voice registered phone of yours, I don’t know what would happen. I’m actually a little scared to find out. What if it connects me to a pizza place, and they force me to order some pizza? OK, so that might not be too bad…
Anyway, you store this number, and then you just make sure to text/call that number, instead of their actual number. This means you won’t have to reprogram that extremely hectic number for speed dial; but you will need to coordinate the incoming google assigned numbers… that’s going to be a pain.
But when I tried using this method with my already signed up for GV buddy, I got his GV number, not a new one… D’OH! And on top of that, he got my old number, not my GV number… CRAP! But I found a quick setting in the GV web interface that solved my problem. It’s under:
Settings -> Voice Settings -> Calls -> Caller ID (Outgoing) -> Display my Google Voice number
Works like a champ, but only for SMS (as of right now)
Well, I now can have 100% for all of my mobile wielding friends for calling and texting. But what about calling the people who have landlines, where I can’t just shoot them a text to get their new google assigned number? CRAP AGAIN!
In actuality, Android, CrackBerry (BlackBerry) and IPhart (IPhone) have an app for that… but Windows Mobile (and other prominent smart mobile OS’s) were left out. So I did what any good developer would do… I utilized Google, and did some searching to see if anyone else had already figured out this problem. Here is what I found…
For calling, you’ll want iContact, iDialer, and GreenButton. The three of them together make it much easier to navigate the GV tasks of calling. Their links are as follows:
For SMS, you’ll want “Google Voice Easy SMS Version 2.0”. It’s a pretty lightweight app that will send messages over 3G or WiFi (in case you pay per SMS).
And on my HTC HD2, I simply cleared out two of my shortcuts so that one can be iContact, and the other is Easy SMS. It is still a pain to get a text, close it, and then respond in Easy SMS, but that will be all the more reason to hurry up quicker to get an Android based phone, where it’s all built in.
Now for the fun task of letting everyone know I have a new number, and they should start using it…