Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

Summary: I've been a huge advocate of Google Voice for a while, its got a lot of great features, but it's a royal pain on the iPhone.

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TOPICS: Google
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I've been an advocate of Google Voice for a while, its got a lot of great features including truly being able to keep your phone number for life and never being tethered to a device or carrier again.

I use Google Voice most when I switch to Android full-time while writing my Droid books (in order to immerse myself in the topic, natch). I also love it because I can easily forward my GV number to any/all of my phones – which is great if you use several different phones or switch devices often.

Much has already been written about the benefits of Google Voice so I'm not going to re-cap it all here.

The announcement that Google Voice is now offering phone number portability is a watershed event. It means that you can now port your current phone mobile number (sorry, no landlines or corporate numbers yet) to GV and enjoy true mobile phone freedom. The announcement makes Google a pseudo-mobile phone carrier, except that it doesn't own towers, doesn't charge you anything and you can leave any time.

While it all sounds exciting, there are limits.

You have to be off contract Porting to GV cancels your existing mobile phone service. You need to be safely outside of your carrier contract or risk paying a nasty Early Termination Fee. You should also tell your existing carrier about your plans to port in advance too -- and while you're on the phone with them, make sure that your account is paid in full before trying any of this porting chicanery. Carriers don't let you "port out" if you have a balance.

Contracts aside, iPhone users will find it inconvenient to use Google Voice.

No GV integration in iOS Google Voice isn't integrated with iOS, it's a third-party app. For example, if you port to GV all calls made from your iPhone must be made from the Google Voice app, as opposed to the native iOS Phone app. Otherwise your caller ID will display the number from the device hardware -- not your GV/"real" phone number. If someone saves the device number or calls you back from their recent call list, you're out of luck.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Android has deep GV integration. It's trivial to set up your Android device so that the native dialer uses your GV number. It's completely transparent on Android whereas you have to completely re-wire your brain and remember to only use the GV app on the iPhone. Good luck with that.

Epicenter's David Kravets compared his experience porting to GV to an LSD trip gone awry after spending countless hours on a bizarre journey through the depths of customer service hell with his carrier. He was so pissed off that he coined a new term: “going wireless carrier," a 2011 version of “going postal.”

Danny Sullivan wrote a thoughtful and detailed piece on what its like to port to GV based on his experience using the service for six months. Sullivan's piece is required reading if you're entertaining the thought of porting to GV.

So what's with the Apple limitations?

Simple. Apple is protecting the annuity it gets in the form of a commission from the carrier fees you pay every month. Why would Apple make it easier for you to make free/cheap calls and send free text messages when it cuts into the bottom line?

Apple needs to adds support for alternative dialers to iOS -- or it risks falling even farther behind Android in market share.

Will Apple ever allow GV into it's walled garden?

Topic: Google

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47 comments
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  • So, you cancel your carrier, how do you get Google Voice?

    Without a carrier for internet, where do you get your VOIP Google Voice connection?
    miwic
    • It's a little bit more of that Android magic.

      You know, the kind that iOS types don't understand.
      nix_hed
  • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

    Apple is obviously not promoting nor integrating Google Voice into iOS because it doesn't own Google Voice. Is this really that surprising?
    illegaloperation
    • Why should Apple care about GV ???

      @day2die GV is a 3rd party application. It is Google's job to make it work on the target platforms.

      Why the hell should Apple, Red Hat, Microsoft or any OS vendor spend a single second thinking about supporting a 3rd party tool?
      wackoae
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @wackoae
        Exactly what I was thinking.
        illegaloperation
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @wackoae

        Would you buy a PC if you could only run applications purchased from Microsoft, only access websites approved by Microsoft, only buy products from stores owned by Microsoft? The only reason that the personal computer as we know it today exists is because IBM the OS vendors had "open" systems allowing 3rd-party innovation. Otherwise you would still be doing your word processing on a green-screen terminal and playing Pong Version 37 on your rented video arcade machine.
        terry flores
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @terry flores He is talking about integration, not about open & accepting 3rd party applications. You do know that you can install hundreds of applications on the iphone right? right?
        NaderBelaid
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @wackoae Exactly! It should not be up to the "base" platform to support the thrid party apps but the responsibility of the third party developer to make sure their product integrates into the platform they are working with.

        Personally I could care less about mobile number portability anyhow as I'm still under contract and I use my GV number for side work and prefer to keep it separate from my personal and work numbers.
        athynz
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @NaderBelaid & @athynz did you read the part approve & sell by MS?? that how Apple works, if they don't feel like it, they just reject the apps they don't even need to tell you why!!! The integration Jason is talking about is not possible because Apple don't allow anyone to make that integration. You're the clear example of the irrational Apple fanboys
        b3lc3bu
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @b3lc3bu

        Bingo!! we have a winner... Tell him what he's won Johnny!!!

        someone apparently missed terry flores' sarcasm/implied meaning. we all need to than kb3lc3bu for pointing this out the deaf, dumb, and blind who post on this forum...
        aiellenon
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @wackoae Because IT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT!!!11!!1ONE!ONE!!1 or some bullphooey like that.
        nix_hed
  • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

    this is all very new to me, but its about time to work my way into Google voice. more inspiration from a blog
    seosem
  • Can't live without it

    Google Voice is such a great service.
    BioNerd
  • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

    Why are you out of luck if you cal from your 'real number' ?
    Then you get the call directly...isn't the point so that you get your call?
    elisha.kusen@...
    • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

      @elisha.kusen@... No, it's important for my contacts to only have my GV number. When they receive a call from my iPhone number, it confuses them, and if they call me back on that number, it doesn't ring my office and house (in addition to my iPhone).
      dwoodeson
      • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

        @dwoodeson Gee...just like if you call them from your home or office landline... For your Google Number to show in CallerID, you _must_ call them from Google or a Google-understanding mobile phone. _Everything_ else, not just an Apple phone, will show the real CallerID. Big whoop.
        zellich
  • Wrong

    It is really annoying when someone who is supposed to be commenting on mobile technology doesn't know the mobile phone industry.

    You can port out your number when you have a balance, port outs, as well as other account transactions such as upgrades and activations, are blocked ONLY when the outstanding balance is past due. If you have a balance and it is not past due, there won't be a problem.

    As a side note, can I be the only one who finds the idea of literally having 'the same phone number for life' absolutely terrifying? If I had the same phone at age 35 as I did at age 15, how the hell am I ever goong to get all those annoying people I knew when I was 15 but don't want to talk to anymore to stop trying to call me? Also, excessive portability of numbers makes area codes completely meaningless, so you will never know what anybody's area code is going to be, and you can forget about ever being able to actually remember anybody's phone number.
    Doctor Demento
    • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

      @Doctor Demento You grow a pair and tell them you don't want to talk to them. BTW, area codes already are unreliable on a cell number.
      MrBeck
    • RE: Why the iPhone and Google Voice don't mix

      @Doctor Demento GV helps you there, too. You can change your number any time you like. I don't find the prospect of a number for life any kind of problem... then again, I don't have much of an enemies list from when I was 15, either. But if,at some point, I did, I could swap out the GV number without worrying about changing my cell number.

      GV also let's you do interesting things, like having a local number in two different cities that rings to the same device. Great tech, even for people who are not trying to live two different lives.
      Hazydave
  • You cannot shut off your mobile account!

    This article is incorrect. If you shut down your mobile phone service, Google Voice doesn't work because unlike apps like Line2, Skype, etc, Google Voice is NOT VoIP. It needs the cell plan (and your minutes) to make calls from an iPhone. If you shut down your carrier, you'll have no way to use Google Voice!! Instead, you must work with your carrier to *change the number* to one you don't care about, which is the number you will configure google voice to forward calls to after you old cell number is ported.
    Peter Sisson