Faster dialing with Google Voice on Android and Blackberry devices

Thursday, July 22, 2010 | 10:25 AM

(Cross-posted with the Google Voice Blog)

At Google we are obsessed with speed. Our mantra is faster = better. This is true for our Google Voice mobile apps as well. When you want to make a call, your phone should connect you as quickly as possible, whether you’re calling via Google Voice or not.

Today we are launching an enhancement to the Google Voice mobile app on Android and Blackberry phones, which makes placing calls much faster. We call this feature “direct access numbers.” Here’s how it works:

Until today, the Google Voice app had to make a request to the Google Voice server every time you wanted to make a call to send us the phone number you wanted to dial. Then the call would be connected via a Google Voice access number. With direct access numbers, we assign a unique phone number to every person you call. This means that we no longer need to use your data network to access the server each time you make a call, so calls will be placed much faster.

The updated Android app is available from Android Market starting today. For Blackberry users, you can download the app by visiting http://m.google.com/voice from your mobile device. You will need a valid Google Voice account to use the app, and at this time, Google Voice is available in the US only.

46 comments:

P Robino said...

I have Verizon, I was able to add the number that Google Voice calls to my friends and family circle, now with this update will I have to add more phone numbers to my friends and family to avoid extra fees?

michelbites said...

Are you guys ever going to fix the +1 dailing on it. My service will not let me use +1 dialing...

Zach said...

I don't know about the expediency of this "quick fix." First off, it probably disables myfavs, which I use Google's outgoing and incoming number to make free phonecalls. This essentially nixes the outgoing number. Secondly, Google's contact management sucks - every time I call someone GV creates another new contact and doesn't delete it, now I'm going to have a new number in every contact? I will not be updating to this version until these issues are addressed.

timkalvey said...

yeah, wish i would have read this before updating. i would like to go back to the previous version. Anyone know how?

Dave said...

"At Google we are obsessed with speed. Our mantra is faster = better"

But not, apparently, when it comes to rolling out Google Voice internationally (even to countries where it was available before you acquired it).

J said...

You can download the .apk file for the previous GVoice Android app here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7440470/com.google.android.apps.googlevoice.apk

Hopefully they will allow the feature to use a single routing number to be turned back on later.

James Moore said...

Speed isn't the problem, it's voice quality. In Seattle, at least, the quality has been so bad I had to stop using it for outbound calls.

Jeremy Nebraska said...

Is there an actual app for the BlackBerry? when i go to the site, it doesn't prompt for an install or anything.

Angry&TheWorld said...

Does it use data tomake the calls still or am I basically dialing a phone with an amternate number? I like Voice, because I can use my data plan, rather than minutes to make a call, but I'm told this update now uses airtime/call minutes, rather than data.

Can anyone confirm?

Dave Lister said...

@Angry&TheWorld: Google Voice never used your data plan to make calls. They've always gone over the voice network.

joe_arimathea said...

I completely agree that the multiple routing numbers is a showstopper for me. Why?

Angry&TheWorld said...

@ Dave Lister: it would appear you were right and I was misinformed as to how the app worked on the mobile platform. So what's the big issue with this change that people are so against?

jtdfan said...

Just use the GVDialer app in the marketplace to place calls with friends and family. It does the contact the server format and it rings you back on your GV number so it can stay in your friends and family.

Dave said...

just to be clear on the implementation: with direct access numbers, does the google voice app completely avoid using data to initiate outgoing calls?

That is to say, are there really hundreds of access numbers available to correspond with however many people there are in my contacts list? Also, will new numbers added to my contacts list, need to be assigned an access number the first time I call it via the old scheme using the data connection, or is this automatically done before a call is ever placed?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just curious.

Dennis Sylvester Hurd said...

Mute while waving from Canada (with a Nexus One in hand).

Quick, eh?

Todd Benson said...

Why can't we get this to work on the BB Storm?

Allen Miller said...

J posted the earlier version in dropbox but it is android. Does anyone have the Blackberry earlier version. Want to go back to my Verizon Favs.

JD said...

How about publishing the way to use it so that people with other phones (Nokia S60) can also use them?

I save "p2p#" in my contacts to dial out using GV, I presume using quick access numbers would make it more manageable.

Mike said...

Once again, hosing windows mobile users. I love Google, but they are just as bad as everyone else in !@#$%& the competition....

Linux Ninja said...

Google just defeated one of the main reasons we use this application for our calls. Having a separate number for every outbound call? That breaks the AT&T A-List and every other provider's Friends&Family Plan. We should be given the option of whether or not we want to enable this 'feature'. Else, we're going to need to go to another service and use pure SIP.

Linux Ninja said...

wait... let me understand this... I have 500 contacts on my list, and I'm going to have 500 phone numbers assigned, one per contact? I assume Google provisioned and entire block of phone numbers just for this purpose... probably uses these pre-provisioned numbers for everyone and knows which contact to dial based on the actual cell phone number that is initiating the call...

just guessing.

I looked for GVdialer and didn't find it in the AT&T Android Market.

dmax said...

I've been waiting for this. I have a smartphone with no data plan, up until now I have been using calling card apps to dial my gv number, pause and then the number i am dialing. Added extra time to the process, but it was worth it to show my gv number and not the cell number. Much quicker now.
I tested it and the upgrade does not add new numbers to my contact list. The number gv assigns only works on the back end. I think you can still have the myfavs trick by using the gv html 5 app through the web browser. Great work Google! If you guys can do the same for texting as you did for calls, I will be way stoked!

EvelKub said...

Please return to the previous version, or else make it optional to use this "faster" version. As with everyone else, this breaks the number one reason I use the app.

John Parchem said...

Add my voice to the crowd clammering with torches and pitchforks for the the option to revert to using a single dialout number. Will never upgrade until that is fixed.

dmax said...

There are a lot of ways to initiate a call by calling your own number. jtdfan mentioned the gv dialer - I used an app called Flex Lite (for android), and one called kardcaller (for blackberry). These are dial sequencing apps. They are easy to set up - you go into the settings, tell it to dial your gv number i.e. 3235551212, then a pause (p), then a 2, then the number you are dialing 8185551212, then a #.

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michigankappaclub said...

Where do I find an older version for BlackBerry?

The sole reason I used Voice was that I could have ONE outgoing number for all my calls, adding it to my Friends & Family made those calls free. I was able to reduce my plan minutes down and save money.

That appears to be no longer of use, and I don't want overage charges on my bill.

The lack of change logs and update information doesn't help matters either... seems I have to search the 'net to find answers every time.

Shame on you Google. Do no evil... Hmm.-

michigankappaclub said...

Found the downgrade link for BB's:

http://bit.ly/d8Qyvq

And why is this comments field pulling in the WRONG name for the ID I provided?

Aanbae said...

I so interest read this news post, but when this future can be able to in my country thanks ;)
fr : vilat lines

BOOMERS-FITNESS said...

as long as google voice is using up airtime minutes now, why not develop a wifi calling option so people in areas where there is no coverage be able to communicate?

Eric said...

Man, so many critics, yet we've never had to pay for a Google product EVER. Use at your own risk, and if you're that upset, go back to the native dialer. Also on another note, developing for other countries requires dealing with a lot more regulatory bodies and business politics than you'd think.

I say, keep up the good work, Google!

Mike said...

Eric, not exactly. While you don't have to fork over cash for Google, they index your life, which is why you get it for free. I do love Google generally, but its not truly "free."

Seth said...

I agree with the majority. This new "feature" needs to be an option that can be disabled. Why would anyone use it!!?? For example most people get free mobile to mobile minutes. If I call someone on Verizon and I'm on Verizon it doesn't cost me anything. Now that I can't add my Google Voice Number to my friends and family if I do call someone that is on the same network as me using my Google Voice number, I will be docked minutes! Why use it? Might as well go back to just using the phone without the Google Voice app. It is not just about getting free minutes, it is about getting charged for minutes I wouldn't normally be charged for if I WAS NOT using Google Voice!!!!

struff said...

Since the Android app update this week, I am not able to hear voicemail that is left for me. I press the play button and I see the words highlighting across the screen, but there is no sound from either my handset or my speaker.

DigiK said...

Despite the v.4 switch to unique, per-contact access numbers, you can still get free outbound calling without any extra steps or resorting to VOIP if you have Friends and Family or equivalent with a nice little program called GVMyNumber.

Download from your Android Device here:
http://code.google.com/p/gvmynumber/

"GVMyNumber is a free Google Voice dialer for Android which integrates with the default Android Google Voice application," Setup for GVMyNumber is as easy as inputting your GV# into the application settings, and using it is even easier. Once you choose the contact you'd like to dial, select the 'Dial w/ Google Voice' option, and it automagically first dials your GV# and inputs the contact number to achieve free calling. No callbacks, instant seamless connection.

The beauty of GVMyNumber is that you only need to enter your GV# in FnF. No more musical chairs with ephemeral access numbers, and the whole process is quite seamless. Don't bother paying for other equivalent programs, as this works perfectly on 2.2 releases.

To quickly ascertain which carrier a contact is on for outbound calls/texts, you can use something like VZW's FnF phone number verifier tool. Under their contact name suffix, simply append VZW, ATT, etc; and you'll quickly be able to see which carrier they're on from the Rolodex before you make a call.

If you also want free in-bound calls, you can still have GV replace in-bound caller ID numbers with your GV# via Google Voice settings from a PC>Calls>Caller ID In>Display my GV Number. Your carrier will think your FnF GV# is calling you, thus free inbound calls. It's a stretch for most people, though, myself included.

Edward said...

BlackBerry Users, open your browser, use the menu key to select 'Options', then 'Browser Configuration', then change 'Browser Identification' to 'Firefox'then menu key 'Save Options' then http://m.google.com/voice to install version 0.2.0.2 or http://bit.ly/d8Qyvq to install the previous version 0.1.7

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Kerwin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Kevin said...

I just did an update this week and seems to still be working with Tmobile MY Favs.

Is there a way to check the google voice app version number?

I have my favs (5 favs)No internet on my phone.
I have one fav as my GV number (the number that I chose) I can call this number and press 2 and dial any number from there.

I also have another number (this number is what google voice app calls before it dials out to my contact) It is only used when I am connected with WIFI

Kevin said...

What version is the new version?
I am running version 40012

Menu->settings ->Applications -->Manage applications --> google voice

Ryan Lumin said...

This is a great step towards efficiency.

The next step would be to detect if the requested number to dial is a direct access number so that it google voice app doesn't try to get a direct access number to call the direct access number.

this happens when the android device is connected to the internet and i request to call out a direct access number (from forwarded text messages) resulting in my operator telling me that the number i'm trying to dial is invalid.

cheers

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DiSCo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Dave said...

now that this "upgrade" has been applied to my verizon droid incredible any outbound call I make using google voice does not work. I get the "the number you have dialed is not in service or no longer exists" Nice "upgrade" google....really nice....it worked before and now does not work at all.....thanks

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