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Google Voice App and Website Updated With MMS and Multiple Account Support


Google has finally updated the Google Voice apps for Android and iOS.  The Google Voice website has also been updated. The new apps and site use the current Google Material Design look, but more importantly they bring most of the features of Google Voice back into a single app.  Here's what's changed:

You can now send and receive MMS picture and group messages using the new Google Voice apps and website. You no longer need to use the Hangouts app for MMS. If you are currently using Hangouts for Google Voice messaging, the first time you launch one of the new new apps it will ask you if you want to switch to using the Google Voice app for Google Voice messaging or continue to use Hangouts.

If you manage multiple Google accounts, each with their own Google Voice number the new apps let you switch from one account to another.

The new apps use a tabbed interface, with separate tabs for call logs, messaging and voice mail.

The Google Voice website has been redesigned. Everything has been moved around, but it looks like all the old functionality is still there and new features have been added. The web interface for sending messages has been revamped to to support sending a message to multiple recipients.  There's a new button that lets you add photo attachments to a message. Sending a video or any other type of file except an image doesn't seen to be supported.

As before, the Google Voice app does not do VoIP calling. For that you still need to use Hangouts. Google has said that they plan to re-purpose Hangouts as an IM and video conferencing app for businesses, so I suspect VoIP calling using your Google Voice number will eventually move to the Google Voice apps too.

I always felt that Hangouts why trying to do too many things at once. Combining Hangouts IM, Hangouts video and audio calling and conferencing, plus carrier SMS and MMS, plus Google Voice SMS, MMS and VoIP calling  all in one app was confusing. More than once I accidentally sent an IM or a carrier SMS when I meant to send a Google Voice SMS. With the latest changes I was able to change my default carrier messaging app back to Messages, and use the Google Voice App for Google Voice SMS and MMS and use Hangouts strictly for IM and video and audio conferencing.

Google says the new apps will be rolled out gradually to users over the next few weeks. If you are like me and want it right now, the Android APK is available for download from Android Police's APK Mirror site.

For more about Google Voice, what it does and how to use it see our The Prepaid Users Guide to Google Voice and Hangouts post.

Source, Image: Google Blog via Android Police.

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45 comments:

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  1. I have paygo, pay per min./text, so, for messaging and voice I still need to use hangouts to not use my cell/mobile texts/min., right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No you can also just use the Google Voice app as I do
      I disable text forwarding to my cells when I have WiFi to prevent being charged for carrier texts.

      Delete
    2. That's right, the Google Voice app has always used data for messaging not carrier SMS.

      Delete
    3. What about voice though? Still have to use hangouts & not gv app to not use cell minutes?

      Delete
  2. Overall very nice update. Missing the option to delete full conversations. Probably a good thing as all texts for a given contact in all in one conversation - similar to traditional messaging apps. And the missing access to starred messages.

    Logging into google.com/voice still shows the old lay out. Maybe once that's updated, other options will appear in the app.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Above ? re paygo is on android phone. Would iPhone be different?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the Google voice app uses data for messaging on both platforms. You do still need to use Hangouts for WiFi or data VoIP calls to avoid using carrier minutes.

      Delete
  4. Ok, log out, then log back into google voice to see the new layout. Old lay out is still available at

    https://www.google.com/voice#inbox

    at least for now. Still missing the access to starred messages. Useful for quickly finding something important.

    For the user with paygo account, you are correct. The app update only changing the UI of gv, not functionality. Hopefully it will stay that way. The new UI still links to the old for some functions.

    Under settings/phones, forwarding to google chat is no longer an option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Under settings/phones, forwarding to google chat is no longer an option."
      Hope that is not going to break obihai + gv integration?

      Delete
    2. Hopefully not. The GV chat option is still available in the old UI at the link above.

      Delete
    3. Maybe it will eliminate a step when setting up a new account/new obi? In other words chat is checked by default via the new interface??

      Delete
  5. My initial reaction after going through both app and website is I like the old app interface and website design better.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Confirmed that new Android GV app can be used to send and receive MMS tested using WiFi = free :) .

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are you able to easily switch between hangouts and the GV app for SMS/MMS? I figure you can but I want to make sure before I download the update. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't received any messages but the toggle still seems to be there in Hangouts.

      If you don't get a more helpful reply and you have an Android phone, I recommend you download an APK extractor and backup the current GV app version you have installed. Then try with the new build, and revert if necessary.

      Delete
  8. I still prefer Hangouts because the Chrome App lets you send/receive everything from any type of device you happen to be using with the same, familiar Hangouts interface.

    ReplyDelete
  9. If I've already gotten used to using Hangouts for GV SMS/MMS (not using it for VOIP calls), is there any particular reason to disable Hangouts integration and go back to the GV app?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking the same thing, may as well stick to hangouts, plus VoIP is there if you need it as GV doesn't have it.

      Delete
    2. I think it's just personal preference. Like Dennis, I prefer to use the app.

      Delete
    3. I too prefer to use just the GV app for SMS. I don't want to always be logged in to Google Chat and AFAIK, there's no way to just log in to Hangouts for just the GV part of it.

      Delete
  10. I've noticed that sometimes text messages don't get forwarded to my phone, if not for the GV app.i would totally miss some texts.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The only advantage to using the GV app is you can have Google text forwarding and the Google voice app as backup, because I've missed forwarded texts also.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such a complicated bunch of gobiligoop! No wonder repu.....ahhh, nevermind

    ReplyDelete
  13. Does the new GV iOS app still have Click2Call? I am afraid to upgrade until I confirm this.

    Hangouts is BY FAR the most useful app out of all the other apps I use, with the possible exception of e-mail. It is the only app that allows cross-phone, cross-ecosystem functionality. I use GV as my primary number and Hangouts allows me to receive all my calls and messages on all my iPhones and Android phones. It handles voicemail well. It is multi-account and allows for easy switching between accounts. I see all this semi-negative talk about Hangouts being "confusing" or what not, but in reality it is the best app ever. I sure hope it does not go away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know. I don't think anyone's seen the new iOS app in the wild yet.

      Delete
  14. No way to turn notifications off(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the new app's settings you can turn off voice mail notifications and set messaging notifications to silent.

      Delete
  15. GV app has easy way to block numbers or mark as spam. Never could figure out how to do this in Hangouts.

    Thanks for link to APK so I could try new GV right away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The option to mark a text as spam was in the old Google Voice app but is indeed missing in the new app.

      I don't see anywhere in the old Google Voice Android app to block numbers. I always used the web app for that.

      Delete
    2. Update, I found the blocking and mark as spam features in the new app:

      To mark a text sender as spam, tap the conversation to open it, then top the 3 dots menu in the top left and choose mark as spam.

      To block a caller or mark as spam, long press the call then tap the 3 dots menu at the lower left of the call detail and choose Block number or Mark as spam

      Delete
  16. I am still using Hangouts, and the "inbox" of the old GV app was empty. With the new GV app the middle tab for calls was filled with my call log. From there I could hit the three dots as you wrote.

    Also the settings in the be GV app is good enough that I won't have to log into the web just to change settings.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have not "disconnected" from Hangouts yet, and may not, but I read something in the help that indicated if I did I could still use Hangouts to make VoIP calls.

    I like how the current Hangouts looks, feels, and works on the desktop so I'm hesitant to switch. Took me a while to set it up... chat off in Gmail, no extension in Chrome, just the Hangouts tab open when I want to be online...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paranoia, you can switch anytime you want.

      Delete
    2. Update: If you disconnect from Hangouts, you can still use Hangouts to make VoIP calls out, but you won't receive them. So this won't work with a data only SIM, which is the case for one of my phones.

      Delete
    3. Google just pushed a Hangouts app update to my phone. Now I can receive VoIP calls!

      Delete
  18. oh my God google has not been able to provide me with the way to do multiple names selection while creating a group message. I don't know they can't think of it. That's very useful when sending to 10 15 people. Samsung message has that, other third party apps have that too. But not Google. Can't do that in Voice, Hangouts or Google Messages.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dennis: do you have any suggestions on getting numbers ported into GV?
    (I know, slightly off topic for this post. But I also just went thru your Guide and don't see this mentioned)

    I've had a Google Voice number for many years, but first tried to port my cell number in about three years ago. The very first time I tried to port, it offered to do it, but I got cold feet. About two weeks after that, I decided to go for it, but they refuse my number. The message is "Porting your mobile number to Google Voice is unavailable
    Your mobile number can not be ported at this time.
    - This number appears to be from an area we don't currently support for porting."

    My number is from Lansing Michigan exchange, 517-614. Started out on Verizon, then PagePlus, now Puppy. Last year I also started trying to port my old home phone to GV, get the same message with that. (517-651 Laingsburg MI exchange, moved from Frontier Landline to Sprint GoPhone)

    The two suggestions I've had are to "keep trying", or to port the number to Google Fi service. Thanks for any ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I use Project Fi.

    With the old Google Voice app on iOS, I could use it (and its spam detection) with my Fi number.

    The new Google Voice app stops this.

    I wish I could revert!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Someone posted that the updated GV app iOS version is available now.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Loaded v2.0 on my old iPhone 4s. Click2call was not available in the app, it just defaults to cellular minutes on the phone. Tried airplane mode w/ wifi and got an error message telling me to disable airplane mode. I can, however, still use click2call via the mobile version of the GV webpage in Safari.

    Click2call works on my iPad. There are no settings for it, it just appears when I click the green call button.

    It seems the new app will only allow direct dial on phones. Leaving click2call exclusively for non-phones.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hey Dennis, maybe you should make a category for Google Voice under "News by Carrier". It is somewhat hard to find Voice postings with the current setup.

    thanks for the great website!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google Voice is a call and messaging forwarding service not a carrier. I will update the The Prepaid Users Guide to Google Voice and Hangouts post on the homepage right next to the Prepaid News by Carrier list once I have a clearer understanding on how the new Goole Voice apps work and how they co-exist with Hangouts.

      Delete
  24. how to do you switch to the new layout on the pc. I went the old layout to delete messages now I want to swap back.

    ReplyDelete
  25. New: voice.google.com
    Old: google.com/voice

    ReplyDelete
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