Google added direct access numbers to its Google Voice for mobile application on Android and Blackberry smartphones. The company is actively soliciting suggestions from users about how to improve Google Voice.
Google July 22 moved to accelerate calls placed on Android and Blackberry smartphones through its
Google Voice for mobile application, the latest in a string of changes the
company has made to its phone management tool.
Google Voice is a free Web calling and
phone management application.
The program, which is used by more than 1.4
in the world, gives users one number to ring their home, work
and mobile phones.
The app, which was just made
to everyone in the U.S. June 22, also lets users make free calls
and text messages in the United States and Canada and make low-cost international calls
The mobile version for Google
Voice Android and Blackberry phones, available to those who already have a
Google Voice number, now allows users to place calls much faster.
To this point, when people used the the Google Voice app to make a call, the
app logged a request with the Google Voice server to send the phone
number the user wished to dial. The call would be connected via a Google
Voice access number.
Google is now using a feature called "direct access numbers." Google now assigns a unique
phone number to every person a user calls, essentially bypassing
the data network to access the server each time a user places a call.
Hence, faster calls. Google Voice for mobile is available here
Users with Android and Blackberry devices may download it and a Web version is available for Apple iPhone,
Microsoft Windows Mobile and Nokia smartphone users. However, these platforms
aren't accorded the same faster calling access.
What's not clear is whether or not this was a commonly requested feature by Google Voice mobile users, or just
a perk the Google Voice team decided to add. Google Voice Product Manager
Vincent Paquet told eWEEK in a June interview that he is soliciting input
from users about how to improve Google Voice.
Since that time, eWEEK has been
flooded with suggestions. While demand for Skype-like international calling is
a constant, Bob said he wanted to be able to host conference calls on Google
Voice. Kyle said he would love to see Google Voice texting integrated with
Google's Chat service.
"I love being able to
text from my computer, but Voice's interface leaves much to be desired. If I
could talk to people in Chat and have it automatically switch to texting when
they sign off (already somewhat possible, but it doesn't come from my Google
Voice number) that would be a dream."
He also said the biggest thing barring him from using Voice
as his primary phone number is the lack of multimedia
messaging service support. Patrick chimed in:
"I completely agree. MMS
is now part of everyday life and Google Voice should reflect that. Lack of MMS
support is the ONE and ONLY thing that's stopping me from using my Google Voice
number as my primary number.Google, could you please implement this ASAP?
Or at least let us know what your plans are?"
The Google Voice team was testing
a desktop client
, only to have it scrapped by management. One Google Voice fan
started up this giveusgvdesktop
petition three weeks ago and it now has some 3,600 signatures.
What's the value of a desktop-based app for Google Voice? One anonymous reader wrote:
there is no desktop app, then I will not use it. I don't use web access on my
smartphones, only because it is not integrated into the cellphone agreement for
my contract with AT&T. Until the issue of web access being a standard
integrated function at no extra charge per month, I will not use it."
So for as many improvements
as Google injects in Google Voice, there are always more to be made to
please existing users.