UPDATE : Google Voice app for iPhone is now available on App Store!
Apple hates people bypassing the carrier’s features on the iPhone. Google’s Voice application which provides free texts and some other super cool features, all for free was never approved on the app store. Why? The carrier will be losing their share on SMS tax (20 cents for 140 bytes – really?). Smart people use unlimited texts add-on which costs $20 with AT&T. Smarter people use Google Voice! You are paying an awful lot of money for your cellular bill, lets try to save some $$$.
I have been using this service since the ‘GrandCentral’ days which was later christened ‘Google Voice’. Some of my favorite features of Google Voice are :
- Free text messages and you can reply to texts from your computer or your smartphone.
- Transcribing your voice messages to text for quick reading of your voicemails. The next time you are in a meeting, you can still read your voicemails!
- Free Texts/Calls to Canada. No carrier can beat that!
- You can transfer your regular, carrier limited voicemail to Google Voice for maximum storage!
- Archiving texts and voice messages forever on Google’s servers. No more of those ‘omg, I lost all my texts or oops, I deleted this important voicemail!’.
- Anonymity. Next time you have to share your phone number online (eBay, Craigslist, registration sites,..), give your Google Voice number instead and never reveal your actual number. You can also block specific numbers!
- Personalized greetings for different groups of contacts.
- Multiple lines can ring at the same time for added convenience.
- It is all web based, take that Apple! No jailbreak necessary either.
Follow these quick and simple steps to start saving on your cellphone bill every month!
- First, head-over to Google Voice and sign up for a FREE Google Voice number. If you have one already, you are smart, now lets proceed!
- Look for Settings -> Voice Settings on the top right corner of the Google Voice website.
- Following are the recommended settings for ease of use on your iPhone. Take note of the ‘Text Forwarding’ email address. We will be using this email account on your iPhone to reply to texts.
- Set up the email account from step 2 on your iPhone using these instructions from Google. It is ‘push’ Gmail now, so texts will be received instantaneously on your iPhone!
- Text away from your email account on iPhone to any of your received texts!
Some best practices if you will :
Try assigning a new email account to your Google Voice number. That way, you can see all Google Voice messages at one place without the clutter.
This won’t work for MMS messages (images, video). That’s when email comes into the picture. Jokes aside, subscribe for $5/200 texts add-on. This way accidental texts and occasional MMS messages won’t contribute to a masssive cellphone bill.
Try using this as your main number – that way you can hop on to the best carrier in your area without having to notify your friends of the new cellphone number.
Sharing your new Google Voice number with your friends can be a pain. Ask them to add this new number for texting, that’s what I do and it works all the time!