google voice

There’s no official Google Voice application for Windows Phone, but there’s a third party application that works really well. It’s called MetroTalk. Support for the application ends in May, 2014, but the good news is that the app will remain available and fully functional until then. Call us surprised when an update for MetroTalk has just appeared at the Windows Phone Store. It brings a couple of bug fixes and an update to offline calling.

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For those with Google Voice accounts, the desire to have a true VOIP solution for Windows Phone has been around for a long time. We have apps like MetroTalk to help manage Google Voice and even make phone calls through a cellular provider, but that’s not an actual VOIP system.

Spare Phone is a relatively new app to Windows Phone and it seems to do just that: make and receive calls purely over your data connection (either Wi-Fi or cellular data). The app works like a standard phone dialer, which can access your contacts and even maintain a call history.

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Google just can’t seem to make friends with Windows Phone. The latest crackdown will come in May 2014 when the search giant begins to enforce its terms-of-service for its Google Voice service, barring third-party companies from making apps.

Google Voice, which used to be Grand Central before it was bought, is a one-number-service that allows users to have a single phone number to ring all of their phones—landline or cellular. It also allows users to protect their real number by giving out their Google Voice digits instead as well as send “free” text messages, since the service utilizes data.

Up until recently, third party developers could tap into the service, releasing their own apps. On Android or iOS, the demand for such solutions is quite low due to both platforms having official options for users. However, since Google shuns everything that is Windows Phone, there is no official Google Voice app for Microsoft’s OS. As a result, developers have created solutions, including the top-rated MetroTalk app to fill in the gap.

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Before Google snatched them up, there was a cool little company called Grand Central. Grand Central’s idea, way back in 2007, was to have one phone number to call all of your phones, regardless if they were landlines or cellular. In fact, you could configure it so specific users could be routed to specific phones e.g. the wife would ring all phones, while your boss would ring none (or vice versa).  Plus, you never have to give out your real phone numbers—just the Google Voice one.

That’s why we’re big fans of MetroTalk. As you may have noticed, we have quite a few Windows Phones laying around on various carriers. MetroTalk is the solution for the Windows Phone user that Google won’t give. It allows you to make calls from your Google Voice number in addition to getting free SMS messaging (since it uses data to transmit). It’s a nifty app that has seen continued development since early 2012.

This week, version 3.4 went live and was followed by two quick patch updates. We’ll tell you what’s new.

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The past few months we’ve seen official apps slowly trickle into the Windows Phone Store. And for those services (cough YouTube, cough Instagram) that don’t provide an official app, third party developers have stepped in to provide incredible applications.

Sometimes doing a job so good it’s hard to see what companies can do better (Metrotube is a great example of this). Unfortunately, most apps require workarounds to function properly and can easily be broken by a change server side to all these apps. Right now users might experience some issues with MetroTalk and GVoice because of some authentication issues.

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Nearly three weeks ago we gave you a sneak peek at the upcoming version 3.0 update for MetroTalk--the dedicated Google Voice app. That update is now live and joins all the other new Windows Phone 8 optimized apps to hit the Store.

The new version has brought with it numerous fixes and various new features, many of which are optimized for Windows Phone 8 users. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had no issues with the app and it’s been running like a champ on our Lumia 920. In short, if you use Google Voice and you're on Windows Phone, you need this.

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For those of us stuck with multiple phone numbers or who like free SMS messaging, Google Voice is a pretty great service (we do wish Microsoft had their own version though). Google of course can’t be bothered with making a Windows Phone client so instead we have to rely on our cadre of great third party app developers.

MetroTalk is one of those apps for Google Voice and we managed to spend some time with the upcoming Windows Phone 8 version. Windows Phone 8 messaging apps will benefit the most from the new APIs offered to developers and consumers will get a much better experience—faster apps, better notifications and many more options.

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MetroTalk for Windows Phone v2.5

If you use Google Voice because like us, you have multiple phone numbers or you just like the free data-driven SMS feature, then you should check out MetroTalk for Windows Phone.

The app started off decent enough when it was first launched months ago but it has quickly ramped up to be one of the best, most fully featured Google Talk clients for Windows Phone—that’s specially good since Google doesn’t seem interested in supporting their own services.

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Google has no immediate plans to release an official Google Voice app for Windows Phone, according to reports. CNET received an official statement from the search giant detailing a development focus on Android and iOS. The statement does note that should sufficient demand spark for a Google Voice client on Windows Phone, the team will look into kick-starting the project.

"We're focusing our Google Voice efforts on Android & iOS and don't have a plan to extend this to the Windows Phone. This may change if we start to see greater demand from Windows Phone users for Google Voice."

Previously we've witnessed what the power of Windows Phone users can achieve by demanding official support from companies, with Draw Something proving to be the best example. For now, until we receive word of an official app in development, those who wish to use the Google service can look at third-party alternatives available on the Marketplace - GoVoice is a free unofficial client, which we've covered previously. 

As CNET rightfully points out, users should always be cautious when downloading apps from the Marketplace. Luckily the developer of GoVoice got in touch and provided the following statement to address any potential concerns:

"We take your privacy seriously and we don't store your password on the device unless if you choose to do so. Even if your device is compromised you can still revoke GoVoice's access. Your password is encrypted on the device and only sent to the Google Voice servers over Secure Sockets Layer (https). We care about your security."

It's a positive sign to say the least. The Windows Phone Marketplace has a number of indie developed apps that boast the functionality missing official apps would feature, which is something many forget when choosing their next smartphone. The only app Google has produced for Windows Phone is the search app, though there are unofficial apps for a number of the search engine's services, including Google Maps.

Are you looking forward to more official support from Google, and do you believe they should start actively developing clients now? Let us know in the comments.

Source: CNET, via: Neowin; Thanks vincentw56 for the tip!

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It's been awhile since we've seen GoVoice, an unofficial Google Voice client, get update so it's nice to see the developer Nick Yu still supporting the free app for Windows Phone.

The latest version, 3.4, just hit the Marketplace and brings some great features including:

  • Search! Now you can search all your SMS's and voicemails
  • Message list contact integration - no need to export contacts to Gmail to see contact names
  • Notification setup bug fixed. Now you can set up notification automatically
  • Bug fixes

Combined with the previous v3.3 update which brought Mango features (including the important fast-app switching, better notifications and pinnable new message), GoVoice feels like a pretty complete and solid Google Voice app for those who need it (we do since we have three different cell phone numbers, ahem and like free SMS).

Pick up GoVoice for free in the Marketplace here.

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It was just over a week ago when we broke the news of GoVoice's impending Mango update. The popular and free Google Voice client is one of the better options out there for those who rely on Google's single phone number convenience as well as free text-messaging ability (it uses data).

GoVoice hadn't been updated in awhile and users feared the project had been abandoned. But with version 3.2 now out, those concerns can be put to rest. We gave an early thumbs up to the changelog in the new version and for the most part, it seems to be working out well. Perfect? Nope, but it gets the job done. Here are the changes:

  • Supports Mango with fast resume and background tile update
  • Smart dial
  • Simplified notification setup with just one click
  • Clickable email, URL, and phone numbers within conversations
  • Direct call using GSM instead of through Google Voice
  • Bug fixes to improve reliability

Let us know in comments how it's working out for you. You can pick up GoVoice v3.2 here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks for the heads up, Amir!

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For those who use Google Voice (hey, some of us have 4 carrier accounts and need number management!), you've been probably hurting since Mango came out with the app selection. Our go-to app has always been GoVoice, which while not perfect is by far "the best of the bunch" in our opinion. Still, while it's a solid app it hasn't had an update in a while, has an issue with the counter ("1" would permanently be on the Live Tile) and it certainly is not Mango-optimized.

Now the developer, Nick Yu, is back working on version 3.2 which is nearing completion. In fact, we're running it right now with great success. Here's the changelog:

  • Smart dialing/texting - Type the phone/name of a contact without going into the contact picker
  • Hyperlink within a message - click on the link, email, or phone number directly in text messages
  • Better notification setup - eliminating the need to leave app to setup GVMax. All gmail forwarding is set up in the app
  • Better tombstoning and Mango support - resume app faster
  • Better scrolling within conversations
  • Added the ability to call phones directly and not through GoVoice
  • Minor other fixes

The biggest thing we've noticed? Speed. It's so much faster now both in terms of launching and scrolling. In turn, this has made using GoVoice much more "native" like since it doesn't feel tedious to load or use like the current situation. Also, notifications are quicker and more reliable. We don't have a release date, but since we're running a near-final version, you can bet it's real close. Grab the non-Mango version of GoVoice v3.1 for free here in the Marketplace. We'll keep you posted when version 3.2 lands.

Between this app and 4th & Mayor's impending Mango-makeover, our week has been made.

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Uses of GoVoice will pleased to know there is a new update live in the Marketplace. Version 3.1 brings quite a few nice fixes to the table:

  • Fix the crashes for some users
  • Fix the crash for sending long text messages
  • More performance improvements to Scrolling
  • A better Metro look

If you recall, GoVoice went completely free (and is still ad free) a few weeks ago, so there's little reason to try the app with it's push notifications/Live Tile support. Interestingly, the paid version's update was certified but it's not yet live in the Marketplace. That's okay though as you can just download the "Free" version and use that instead (there's no difference).

In related news, Sprint announced awhile back that they will be supporting direct usage of Google Voice on Sprint phones--meaning all numbers called from your Sprint phone can appear as your Google Voice account. Invites for the pre-release went out last night and the general rollout is expected to occur on April 26th. More info on that from Sprint here.

Source: Twitter (@GoVoiceApp)

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One of our favorite Google Voice applications is 'GoVoice' (you can't beat free SMS and a single, global number) and while the developer, Nicholai Yu has been busy with other work projects, he does have a shiny new v3.0 of the app headed to the Marketplace. The improvements are many and in our opinion, make this app a lot better.

We got a sneak peak at the app, which is near completion and we can say it is much faster now due to the caching of messages, meaning it doesn't have to re-sync everything on launch. We also like the new counter number and overall added options. Look for it soon in the Marketplace (we'll do a post on it). And we'll let Nick announce the full feature set when he's ready, but it's significant.

The other big news is after version 3.0, Nick plans to make the app completely free. The good news is that we won't loose push functionality and current GoVoice users who paid will stay on the GoVoice servers. For the "free" version, GoVoice will "...provide a way for new users to receive Push" but with different servers than the GoVoice ones. As Nick writes on his blog:

The conclusion is: everyone will still get the exact the same functionality as before. If you need Push and you already paid for it, you will still get it. If you need Push and you didn’t get it through the paid version, we will have a way for you to get it.

He's also not abandoning the project and he does plan to add more features, but he is winding down a bit (and honestly, you can only do so much without having native code or direct access to the system address book). Read more on Nick's blog here and grab 'GoVoice' here in the Marketplace.

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Although GoVoice just hit v2.5, its closest competitor, GVoice has been left in the dust for some time now mostly due to some "issues" (to put it lightly) in Microsoft's app approval process. We mentioned about the fiasco a couple of weeks ago here.

Well, good news for GVoice users and the developer: his app has finally been given the green light after being in limbo for nearly 2 months.

It should go live in the Marketplace anytime now. To see the full change-log, including new features, hit the jump for the list...

Update: V1.2 is now live in the Marketplace, grab it here.

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GoVoice has had quite the ride lately. For us, the Google Voice client has not worked properly since about v2.0 as we had problems with it crashing and no push notifications. Since then, we've been talking with Nick Yu, GoVoice's developer and watching him work through these many problems, a lot related to how complicated Microsoft's v1.0 Push system can be for developers.

We're happy to finally report that v2.5 is now live in Marketplace and working for us: it's faster, push notifications work and no crashing, in other words: perfect. There is also a new feature: "If your phone didn't receive text for some reason (low battery, Q full), GoVoice will resend up to 10 times."

Our advice? Uninstall your current version, soft reset and then go and re-download from the Marketplace. It may also help to unregister your device with GVMax.com for notifications and then have it re-set up. Grab it here.

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WP7 Google Voice Clients – Review Roundup

The competition between Microsoft and Google has been raging for a number of years now. The Windows Phone and Android mobile platforms are only a small part, online services are where the real competition is raging. One of the services where Google has a clear lead is Google Voice.

If you haven’t signed up for the service, Google Voice has a number of helpful features. The basic idea is that you sign up for an account, choose a phone number, and then direct your phone traffic to this Google Voice Number. From there you can have the calls automatically forward to one or several other phone numbers. Google Voice also handles voice mail, emailing or texting you notifications, even transcribing messages so that you can get an idea of the content of a message without ever dialing your phone.

Since Google Voice is a core service of a Microsoft competitor, we will most likely never see native integration into Windows Phone, but there are already a number of third party applications that allow you to use the service on your Windows Phone. To see how they rate, keep reading.

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GoVoice, the popular Google Voice client with push notifications has been submitted for Marketplace approval. Being a 0.1 upgrade, we can expect some minor improvements and bug fixes. Developer Nicholai Yu provides some details of what to expect:

  • Performance improvements
  • New live tile design to make the count more visible (see above)
  • Fixed the bug where settings cannot be saved
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes

Sounds good to us. We've been successfully using the push feature exclusively on our Focus now, giving up on traditional SMS (AT&T's 200 is a little meager). Hopefully the update will come in the next few days. Stay tuned.

On a related note, GoVoice's biggest competitor, GVoice, is stuck in what can only be described as "Microsoft approval hell", a fate we wish upon no developer. Seriously, read that post and know the situation still has not changed for Koush in 22 days. Come on MS, help a brotha out.

Source: @nicholaiyu; My Brain Hurts

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