Google March 23 gave its Voice app for Android, more messaging muscle with Inbox synchronization.
This tool alerts users of Android smartphones to new text messages or voicemails within seconds of receiving new messages in your Google Voice inbox.
Previously, alerts of new messages appeared within 15 minutes of when they were sent, which is a veritable horse-and-buggy approach in today's uber-speedy world of real-time messaging. Now Google Voice will behave more like push e-mail.
This sync isn't switched on by default. Google Voice for Android users must open the Google Voice settings on their phone and touch refresh and notification.
Select the Synchronize Inbox option to start receiving faster notifications. Google Voice will disable SMS forwarding to users' phones so they don't receive duplicate notifications.
Google also streamlined the way users interact with contacts. Click on any contact photo to get the option to respond to voicemail by email or IM:
The updated app is available for download from Android Market, though U.S. users need a Google Voice account to use the app.
Accelerating messaging to the Google Voice app is a fine improvement. Still, there has been dissatisfaction with the way Google has integrated the Google Voice for Android, or rather, the lack of integration of the app on Android gadgets.
Tim O'Reilly aired his gripes on Google Buzz -- is there a more fitting forum? -- here.
Anyway, has it really been almost a year since Google began rolling out its Google Voice phone management application to more users?
Yes, that inaugural roll-out started last June 25. Since that time, Google has racked up more than 1.4 million users of the free service, which lets users route calls to all phones through one special Google number.
In addition to the new inbox sync feature, the Google Voice team has added new features, some of which I've chronicled here.
Also, I look forward to seeing Google Voice added to Google Apps for enterprises later this year.