Friday, March 13, 2009

My Google Voice experience: mobile interface a bit raw

I've just made the transition to Google Voice. It's now bound to my personal gmail account.

Interestingly, on signup I was warned this cannot be changed. So my Google Voice number and my Gmail account are apparently inextricably linked to my Google ID [1].

A few observations
  1. I had to deposit $10 via Google checkout to enable international calling.
  2. All of my Google Contacts are now available in Google Voice
  3. GrandDialer doesn't work any more. (Sob. I expected that, but still. Alas, it's been discontinued.)
  4. Any groups you've defined in Google Contacts are now Groups in Voice and they can get custom greetings. (So what does the person who belongs to two Groups get?!)
  5. Calls to Canada are 1 cent/minute (they were free in beta testing!)
  6. There's a mobile web UI:
  7. You need to spend time with the somewhat hidden Settings menu.
  8. It's a very Gmail like interface and you get the usual Gmail-like app links at top.
The mobile web app is pretty darned crude, definitely not a custom iPhone app. You can use the mobile app to send an SMS message. When I tried the quick call feature from a secondary screen (not the primary screen) I got 404 not found!

No, I'm not kidding.

It worked from the main screen. The buttons were all very small, it's not iPhone optimized at all.

It worked however. So while I'm waiting for a Google iPhone app or a better web app I can live with this interface.

Or I could just do this "For free calls within the US and great rates on international calls, just call your own Google number and press 2 to connect. Once you get the dial tone, enter the number you would like to call. And remember to add 011 for international calls.". Really, that's probably faster.

Now I've another reason for me to reconcile my Google and iPhone/OS X contacts, something I've been mildly dreading.

[1] 113810027503326386174

Update: At least one iPhone app is on the way.

Update 3/20/09: The Google web app is really crummy -- and very slow to respond. Since I currently use Google Voice to call one number very often (parents in Montreal) I just press one button to connect to my GV number, then 2, then my parents number. I am looking forward to a better iPhone app.

1 comment:

Curt Carmack said...


I'm currently using the Syncinablink iPhone app to keep my Google contacts in sync with my iPhone. I do a normal sync with iTunes to keep Address Book in sync. So far none of the usual sync weirdness. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.