Google Voice Group SMS Receiving Works in Hangouts 4.0, Composing Will “in a Future Release” (EDITED)

If you are a Google Voice user, then you have to be excited about the fact that you can now receive group SMS through Hangouts on Android, the web, and iOS. As Google Voice’s Alex Wiesen puts it, this has been a “top feature request for Google Voice users for years.” With that said, the entire process isn’t quite complete, even with today’s update.  (more…)

Hangouts 4.0 for Android Rolls Out Today! (Updated: APK)

Oh boy, Hangouts 4.0 is official and rolling out today on Android. Google decided that Monday morning would be a great time to announce the big news and we couldn’t agree more.

The update introduces Material Design to the app, makes it simpler with a FAB compose button,  allows you to attach pictures and stickers and fun things easier, and should be faster all around.   (more…)

Google Voice Voicemail Transcriptions are Now Dramatically Better

Just over a year ago, Google asked Google Voice users for help in improving their voicemail transcription service because it often produced “humorously intelligible” results (see above). Today, the company reported back saying that thanks to participant help, they have been able to reduce transcription errors by 49%. And as a part of that announcement, Google has announced an improved voicemail system for Google Voice and Project Fi that delivers far more accurate transcriptions.  (more…)

Google Wants Your Thoughts on Google Voice in This Survey to Help Them “Prioritize Features”

Over two years ago now, Google told us that Hangouts was the future of Google Voice. I don’t know what kind of future they envisioned at that time, but Google Voice is still functioning today almost exactly as it was then – as is Hangouts. Now we also have Project Fi added to the whole equation, so the “future” is still mostly uncertain for one of Google’s services that is arguably one of its most innovative, even if the company has neglected it for years.  (more…)

Switching From Google Voice to Project Fi – How It Works

After looking through the Project Fi sign-up process that was posted to reddit earlier today, we came away feeling more knowledgable about a majority of the service’s features, but also left feeling a bit worried about how it would play with Google Voice. Because certain features were noted as being left out, we were wondering if Project Fi would even be an option for some of us long-time GV users. Thanks to a great find by one of our readers, we now think we know exactly how Google Voice will transfer over to Project Fi.

The biggest thing to understand here is that when you transfer over from Google Voice to Project Fi, you are essentially leaving your Google Voice life behind. Because of that, you get to keep some of the features and lose others.  (more…)

Google’s Two New Project Fi Videos Help You Decide a Data Amount, Text and Call From Any Device

Look, the Nexus 5 2015 in all white!

Now that I have you attention with that placeholder device, let’s talk about a couple of new videos that Google added within the last 24 hours to its FAQ for Project Fi. The two videos focus on deciding how much data you should choose to start with on your Fi plan and how you can use your Fi number to call and text from almost any device, including tablets and computers.  (more…)

First 15 Apps I Install on Every New Android Device

As a part of this job, I have the (depending on how you look at it) pleasure of setting up new Android devices more often than any normal human should. The process, which has become much easier and more automated on Lollipop, can be both tedious and exciting. On one hand, you have to sign-in to every single app all over again, but on the other, you get to start playing with a brand new phone or tablet. For the most part, the joy of using a brand new phone outweighs the 20-30 minutes it may take to set it up.

Over the years, my setup process has become much tighter, leaner, and more efficient. Instead of installing a hundred or so apps with each new device that comes across my desk, I often only install a select few apps that I can’t live without. Since I tend to spend only a couple of weeks with a phone during a review period before sending it back to its owner, I’ve realized that I probably don’t need three different Twitter apps and a package tracker and credit card managers and four different photo editors.

These days, when I setup a device, I can get get by with a group of specific apps that you wouldn’t typically find pre-installed on a phone. Obviously, I’m a huge Google services user, but those related apps are all installed before I boot a new phone for the first time. If we look outside of those (Gmail, Hangouts, Maps, etc.), here are the first 15 I install every time.  (more…)