I’m a Google Voice user for all my “bidness” calls. So I am concerned as to how it will function now that the service is being rolled up into Google Hangouts. One of my main concerns is how will GVoice handle my “fake” number I use to forward text messages and calls to my “real” number?
If you’re a Google Voice personal/business user or a developer that uses GVoice functionality in your own service/app, you might want to check out this guest post by SendHub Co-founder and colleague Garrett Johnson:
Google Voice is likely to get shut down and/or bundled into Google Hangouts: the writing on the wall now looks like it’s coming true.
When Google Voice first launched in 2009, it was great. A single phone number could ring your mobile phone, your home phone, and your office phone. You could send free text messages, and read the ones you received, right from your browser. It would transcribe your voicemails and email them to you.
But over the next few years, the product stopped improving. The voicemail transcriptions were clumsy at the beginning, but we figured they’d get better. They never did. The web app’s design hardly evolved, and the mobile apps (especially on the iPhone) were clunky at best.
It seemed clear that Google had stopped investing real resources into Google Voice when they went all-in with Google+. Speculation was all but confirmed when Google recently announced that all third-party Voice apps using their neglected API will stop working in May 2014.
If you are a business or a consumer that relies on Google Voice, this is bad news.
Fortunately, a number of solid Google Voice alternatives now exist.
Let’s look at a few of them.
Millitalk offers virtual phone apps for iOS devices. With the Millitalk app, you can call or text message any other Millitalk user for free, and make low-cost calls to people without the app with a Millitalk credits or a paid account. These paid accounts start at $14.99/month for unlimited calls to the US and Canada, while international calls require small amounts of credit.
TextNow makes virtual phone apps for the web, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Like most other apps of its kind, TextNow offers unlimited free calls to other TextNow users, and like Google Voice, it offers unlimited free text messages to mobile numbers in the US and Canada. Calls to people that don’t use TextNow cost a couple of cents/minute. TextNow’s apps come with ads, but you can eliminate them with an in-app purchase ($5.99/yr or $.99/month).
text+ has over 50 million users, and when you use text+’s apps, calls and texts to any of those users are free. Calls outside the app cost a few cents per minute. Like TextNow, text+ offers free text messages to anyone in the US or Canada.
Pinger’s flagship app, Textfree EX, gives you your own working phone number, where you can receive unlimited calls for free. When you first sign up for Textfree EX, you get 60 free minutes for outbound calls, and packages of 100 more minutes are $1.99. The apps include advertising, which you can turn off with a $5.99 in-app purchase. On certain US carriers, Textfree EX also allows you to send MMS (text messages with pictures).
The business phone system that adapts to you – Web, IOS and Android. Offers the best combination of power and price for SMBs and non-profits looking for Google Voice alternatives. Add virtual phone lines for every person on your team or set up a simple auto-attendant to answer and direct incoming calls. Unlimited calls and text messages to other SendHub users and communication to the outside world starts with a $25 plan.