Google Voice for iPhone Needs an Overhaul

I love Google Voice, but their iPhone app is in need of an overhaul. Since November 2010 when the app finally made its way into the App Store, it has never been updated to my recollection. It certainly works as advertised, but there are plenty of features that I would like to see added or expanded. I’ve used other free texting apps that have had better interfaces and features, but I choose to use Google Voice because the service is better. I like the ability to send text messages directly from the website on my computer and maintain archives the way that Google does well.

Before I get into my list of features I want in the iPhone app, I would like to point out a glaring omission with the Google Voice system as a whole. That omission is that MMS texting is not allowed. If anyone sends me a text message that includes a picture, I receive absolutely nothing. No notification, no bounceback. Absolutely nothing. I don’t know why this isn’t fully supported. It couldn’t be a storage issue since Google owns enormous properties like YouTube. The amount of data to manage MMS messaging would be less than a drop in the bucket of the data management for YouTube videos. At the very least, I wish Google would deliver me the text portion of a MMS message with an “attachment not included” warning. Get on this already!

Back to the iPhone app. For some unknown reason, composing text in landscape mode is not supported. I most always lock my phone in portrait mode, so it’s not a huge deal for me, but not everyone uses it the way I do. Landscape mode for the Google Voice app is surely needed, especially for people used to typing in that fashion.

There are no zero options for notification sounds! The only sound the app makes is the generic iOS default notify ding. I’ve used the TextFree app in the past and it had a dozen or so options for notification sounds. This would be a very welcomed feature for Google Voice. The fact that it doesn’t exist already is outrageous. This is one of my biggest complaints.

The font size for text composition is entirely too small. If I compose a brand new text message, the font size and window for typing is just right. However, when working in the inbox timeline of a text thread, the font is really tiny, and replying is done in an incredibly small window. I would like this to change. I would even like to see some font size options in the app settings. In fact, the entire interface of the app could be a lot more attractive overall. I’m calling for a complete overhaul of the user interface.

I use the Google Voice app a lot during the course of a day and I feel like the app is a battery and resource hog. I have no evidence to back this up, mind you. It’s just a hunch. At times it can feel a bit slow and clunky. I don’t know what could be done about this, if anything, but I can’t get past the feeling that the app is making my phone work harder than it should. This issue is the least important in my wishlist and for all I know, it isn’t really an issue at all, but I had to toss it in at the end.

I’ve never used Google Voice on an Android phone so I can’t comment on that experience. I do love the service as a whole. I just wish the iPhone app would receive the overhaul it desperately needs. Get on it, Google!

Author: Craig Tisinger


2 thoughts on “Google Voice for iPhone Needs an Overhaul”

  1. I’m thrilled to report that today Google has released an updated version of the Google Voice app for iPhone. The new version released is v1.2.0.1285. Support for landscape view and landscape text composition has now been added. This is a small step, but I’m happy to see Google continuing, however slowly, to develop and support the Voice iPhone app. I applaud the effort.

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