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Google Voice Teams Up With Sprint 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the said-they-wanted-it-to-run-fast dept.
bhagwad writes "Google announced today that it was teaming up with Sprint, which will allow users to seamlessly use their Sprint mobile number as their Google Voice number and vice versa. This is quite a big step for Sprint and shows a lot of guts, since carriers have always been wary of giving up control. Though GV allowed users to port their phone numbers some time ago, this tie-up makes it easy and could finally propel GV into the public's mass consciousness."
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Google Voice Teams Up With Sprint

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  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Informative)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:56PM (#35561212) Journal

    your GV number will likely still be unsupported by nearly anything that uses shortcodes. I wish they would fix that.

    • Re:Unfortunately (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday March 21, 2011 @01:00PM (#35561262)

      And MMS. I love google voice. It's how things should work. If I'm on my computer, I can text anyone and read it on my computer. Voicemail I can listen to on my computer. The transcription will at least get me in the ball park on what the message was.

      • by pspahn (1175617)

        The transcription will at least get me in the ball park on what the message was.

        Here is an actual transcription of a GV voice message from my inbox:

        Hi Rosa, 7. We'll be there on the net. Because of sorts. Director. And since. Thank you.

        Basically every other voice message I've received has been equally absurd.

      • by gollito (980620)
        I don't get the whole MMS issue. Why can't they just forward it to your gmail account?
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      your GV number will likely still be unsupported by nearly anything that uses shortcodes. I wish they would fix that.

      This is a bad thing? Aside from SMS spam, what else uses shortcodes? Anything good?

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        The Red Cross has a shortcode donation service that most carriers will allow a free SMS to during times of disaster, like the current situation in Japan. The $10 donation gets added on to your phone bill for the month.

        • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

          The Red Cross has a shortcode donation service that most carriers will allow a free SMS to during times of disaster, like the current situation in Japan. The $10 donation gets added on to your phone bill for the month.

          Ah, true. Fortunately I can and have donated other ways. This doesn't seem like a deal-breaker to me thus far.

      • by OverlordQ (264228)

        This is a bad thing? Aside from SMS spam, what else uses shortcodes? Anything good?

        Pretty much any service that allows alerts by SMS doesn't support GV.

      • Some electronic parking meters let you plug 'em by short code.
      • It's not a short code but since gv numbers are seen as landlines you can't sign up for Amber alerts.
        • It's not a short code but since gv numbers are seen as landlines you can't sign up for Amber alerts.

          Sounds like a feature to me. Amber alerts don't work and the system has been abused like crazy because nobody has the balls to tell a freaked out parent that they don't qualify for an amber alert.

    • I think MMS is a much bigger issue. If I you can't get pics of hot girls on your cell, nobody is gonna switch. I would have already switched to GV if it supported MMS.
      • Google Images has plenty of pics of hot girls, some of them are even naked and ... more. Most of it is free. MMS is stupid bridge between SMS and Full Email, which is better in just about every way than MMS.

        So, quit playing like an underage teen and get a smart phone.

      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        I think MMS is a much bigger issue.

        ...one which is easily handled (and better handled) by email.

        • How can I have a phone number that forwards MMS to my email and calls to my SIP? GV is the best solution yet there is only SMS capability.
    • Im worried about datasecurite in this case!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's like hiding an diamond engagement ring inside a pile of shit.
    • by sjwaste (780063)
      The review for "Shark Sandwich" was merely a two word review which simply read "Shit Sandwich". They cant print that!
  • by OpenYourEyes (563714) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:59PM (#35561234)

    Has anyone seen how this will impact Virgin Mobile users, who use the Sprint network? Last time I tried to get Google Voice working with VM, I was told that conditional call forwarding was not available, thus making it a bit less than useful.

    What this does demonstrate is that the cell carriers should focus on what they're at least moderately competent at - building and running the infrastructure and letting someone else run the features that make use of it.

    • by zarthrag (650912)
      Agreed, I just switched to Virgin myself ($150 outright for an LG Optimus V, less than $28 a month for unlimited text/data/300min...WITH TAXES! No contract) I flat out had their VM turned off so that my VM through google voice would be sane. But, for the price, I'm quite happy. But "seamless" number support would not mean much unless GV had a desktop client, and ALL android phones get wifi calling capability.
      • While GV doesn't have a desktop client, they do have an addon for Chrome which is quite useful, it allows you to use the browser to send and receive texts.
    • by scubamage (727538)
      In the 3GPP/IMS/PacketCable 3.0 specs they're trying to do just that. Honestly a lot of the technology is still in development, but it is where things are headed. It allows for better scaling since companies that focus on features/applications can do just that, while the companies that provide infrastructure can scale each of their components separately without having to constantly rebuild their application systems or rely on soft switch upgrades (in pre-3GPP/IMS deployments) to scale upwards. Sadly a lot o
    • by ynp7 (1786468)

      It'd be really nice if this would eventually make it to VM, seeing as how they're owned by Sprint and their data plans are ridiculously cheap. The only real downside to Virgin is that their smartphone offerings are pretty low end. The best Android phone they've got is the Samsung Intercept and it's 3.2" screen is only 240x400.

      • The only real downside to Virgin is that their smartphone offerings are pretty low end.

        Unless you never leave large cities, Virgin's paucity of smartphones is much less important than the absence of roaming on their plans.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Optimus V, 3.2" 320*480, processor isn't the fastest but the only slowdown I've noticed is when the stupid javascript heavy ads make angry birds a bit sluggish.
        • by ynp7 (1786468)

          Optimus V lacks a physical keyboard. This would be a deal breaker even on a phone without a tiny 3.2" display. Obviously they work for some people but I've used half a dozen touch screen phones and the virtual keyboards weren't within a mile of acceptable for even minimal use on any of them. Otherwise, yeah, the specs on the Optimus are definitely decent enough.

          • by afidel (530433)
            For serious work I agree, that's why my work phone is a EVO Shift 4G. However for checking email, google navigation, and entering appointments, which is what my wife uses hers for, it's quite sufficient.
  • Any indication how the SMS will be handled? Google Voice has a pretty bad reputation for dealing with SMS messages, particularly Short Codes, although a lot of companies that promise to send you an SMS message are unable to handle a Google Voice Number and will silently drop the SMS message in these cases.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Google Voice has a pretty bad reputation for dealing with SMS messages,

      That's been an ongoing problem. [google.com] A year ago I dumped Google Voice for Twilo because of that. Google Voice gets its phone numbers from some third-tier telecom broker, one that has trouble identifying which numbers are considered "mobile" to the rest of the system. Getting their numbers via Sprint ought to help.

  • by junkfish (460683)

    When is GV gonna allow Multimedia Messaging?
    I am stuck in 2002 with my 2010 phone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When is GV gonna allow Multimedia Messaging?
      I am stuck in 2002 with my 2010 phone.

      How is MMS even relevant these days? My wife and friends send pictures to/from our mobiles all the time using this really cool technology called e-mail. Personally I always hated when someone would send me an MMS message- why send me a message that I and you have to pay for, when you could just send it via email and its free for both parties?

      • Not everyone has a data plan on their phone. to these people isn't MMS less expensive? Plus they dont have to ask for you e-mail. I have sprint on GV and it does bug me from time to time when a hot chick txt's did you get that picture? And i've gotta respond with my e-mail, or my real sprint number and ask her to send it again.
        • Google Voice is too cumbersome to use on non-smartphones (you have to dial your GV number, enter your PIN, go through a menu, and then dial the number you actually wanted to call). All smartphones have data plans. Therefore, practically any phone with GV has a data plan.

          • Even on an 800mhz processor GV is cumbersome ON a smartphone, the app is extremely unresponsive compared to anything else I've used.

            • I can't say I agree; on my (fairly low-end) Samsung Intercept, it's no more laggy than anything else. (It could just be that since everything's a little laggy, I'm used to it.)

              • That is the exact phone I have and compared to typing in any other app GV is extremely slow, I routinely out-type it and need to wait sometimes several seconds for it to catch up. Everything else works fine however, even the notorious dialer.

                • Typing? ...Oh I see, you can send text messages with it. I never send text messages; I would have assumed it integrated with the messaging app the same way it does with the dialer.

      • same can be said of SMS as well. Not just MMS. I don't have a TXT plan on my phone, and it ticks me off that people send me texts instead of email.

      • My corporate AT&T Blackberry plan doesn't allow for MMS, even though I have data and SMS... But I can send an e-mail to my wife's phone [10-digit-number]@tmomail.net, and she can send an MMS to my e-mail address... so we get essentially the same functionality. It's a bit of a hassle, but not terrible.

        But really, we don't use it anyway.
      • You use email? That's so 1990s. My wife uses this great technology called MMS all the time, sends the picture directly to the phones of anyone she messages. Has the added benefit you don't need to program everyone's email address into your phone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LanMan04 (790429)

      There's this amazing technology called EMAIL you may have heard of. I understand it's even available on smart phones...

      • by sootman (158191)

        Jesus fucking christ, why does someone have to bring this up in EVERY SINGLE THREAD about MMS?

        You know how you can call someone on the telephone and it rings instantly and you can talk to them in real-time because that's how the network is set up? And you know how texting is usually more-or less instant, because it's built on the same technology? And MMS is an extension of that and works pretty quickly for all the same reasons? And you know how all of this works with a thing called a "phone number" which (b

  • by alen (225700) on Monday March 21, 2011 @01:04PM (#35561314)

    if i want to text someone from my email i just text it to number@vtext.com. every carrier has this except Google as i found out recently.

    after using GV it's nice for anonymous things like selling on craigslist and the VM transcription is pretty good, but absolutely useless in the real world for most cell phone uses. don't really care about having a single number for all my phones. when i sold my old iphones it annoyed my wife that the house phone was ringing all the time and i took it off from GV.

    i guess it's cool if you're single and have no kids

    • by ricera10 (932325)

      i guess it's cool if you're single and have no kids

      The average slashdotter, then.

  • Sprint user here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basotl (808388) on Monday March 21, 2011 @01:17PM (#35561506)
    As a user of Google voice and Sprint my ears automatically perked up for this article. At the same time I am unsure if I would actually use it. I have enjoyed having Google voice and I tend to give out the number for people that demand a home number or those that are more public.... business contacts, ect. The separate number is a feature for me to act as my fake business/home number so that I am not giving my cell number out to everyone.
    • For someone who's been giving out their Google Voice number from the start, they're probably better off with a separate number. This is more idea for people like, well, me—I'd like to use Google Voice, but I've had the same phone number for over a decade and don't really want to start giving a new number to everybody.
      • When I switched POTS carriers recently, I faced losing my phone number of 14 years due to porting issues. I took the route of porting my number to a prepaid mobile service, then porting it to Google Voice. Ran me $55 all told, but worth it to me to keep that number.
    • I'll be keeping my sprint and gv separate as well. Added my GV number to sprint@home so every call i make through google voice is free. cant do that if sprint is my number.
    • I, on the other hand, was disappointed when Sprint was mentioned. I closed my account with them two years ago to switch to Verizon. When I closed my account, I asked the (very kind) representative on the line if I owed them any more money for any reason. I was told that my account was completely paid off and that I would receive no further billing; everything is good to go.

      Four months later I start getting calls from collections agencies for money that I can't possibly owe them. What really pisses me off is

    • I notice that Sprint offers voicemail to text for 2.99 a month as an addon feature. Now if they're combined either sprint gives up on this income source or they start charging for this GV feature. Although, if Google starts to actually charge for GV then it may be a break even proposition.
      • They're not combined, it is an optional account feature, and really only useful on smartphones. The VM to Text is still useful for anybody who doesn't opt-in, or doesn't have a smartphone.

  • by e9th (652576)
    I would be happy if GV were to officially support SIP. [google.com]
  • by papasui (567265) on Monday March 21, 2011 @01:21PM (#35561562) Homepage
    Whenever I read of companies teaming up like this, the first thing I try to identify is what each brings to the plate. I can see why Google wins by getting their voice service exposed to hundred of thousands, if not millions more potential users. But what does Sprint get out all of this? Do they think it will attract new customers? I'm sure it will bring some new people to Sprint.. But I really, really, doubt that that this is the magic bullet to move a lot of users over..
    • by s73v3r (963317)

      But what does Sprint get out all of this?

      Well, there is something to be said about being the new carrier for flagship Android phones, now that T-Mobile is having their technical distinctiveness absorbed by AT&T. But if I had to guess, I'm guessing its fat sacks of cash money.

    • by Chelloveck (14643)
      Maybe this lets Sprint charge their exorbitant per-kilobyte data fee for everything you do with GV and your Sprint number.
      • by mldi (1598123)
        Explain this? The call-forwarding required to set up GV voicemail has been free for awhile from Sprint.
    • by crhylove (205956)

      Well this and AT&T buying T Mobile has certainly got me shopping around, and my two potential suitors are Sprint and Virgin at the moment.

    • by iiiears (987462)
      Google ISP?
    • by Asdanf (1281936)
      Traditional Google Voice allows free texting. With this new Sprint-GV thing, Sprint charges you the normal rate for all your GV texts. It may just be defending that revenue stream. Also international calls used to be cheaper on GV I think.
  • I had hoped that Google would jump in bed with T-Mobile, but clearly that's not going to happen now. If they could snuggle up with Verizon it would be better than nothing. Mostly I just want some dramatic changes to the way cellular service is provided.

  • Google Voice is a real money saver for me, not only can you use it on your mobile phone but with a little help from some other free VOIP services, you can create your one free land line for your home or office that rings when someone calls your Google Voice number. I did this and It's great for me. Read this if you would like to see how to do this... http://www.tech-adventures.com/2011/02/make-your-own-free-phone-service-by.html [tech-adventures.com]
    • With the right device you don't even need a SIP provider. I'm waiting for the OBi 100 [wordpress.com] to be released (April 2011 for only $45), this is the first device that can talk directly to Google Voice without an intermediary SIP provider. Their currently available OBi 110 [wordpress.com] apparently has the same feature, it's just more than I'm willing to pay.
      • by bloosh (649755)

        The Obi110 is an incredible device. I got it for $49.99 from Amazon about a month ago during a brief window when they had them in stock.

        If you follow Obihai on Twitter or keep an eye on their forums, you'll see announcements of when Amazon will have them for $49.99 again, but you've got to be quick.

        The call quality with GV on the Obi is much better than my POTS line.

        • Thanks for the tip, I'll keep an eye on the twitter feed. $50 for the Obi110 with two ports, I'd totally go for that.
    • by Chyeld (713439)

      Or you can go really all out: Incredible PBX [nerdvittles.com], and have a complete PBX system with only the need of an internet connection.

      Till it was reaffirmed for me that AT&T is an ass-hole company on par with Bank of America, and won't sell dry loops for DSL unless you have some other service with them, I was considering the upcoming bandwidth caps they are putting in place as an excuse to move to a non-major Telco like DSL Extreme and use the above to replace the phone line.

      However now it looks like I'll have to k

  • My parents have poor reception both at work and in their mountain home. With Google Voice on the same number they will have a stable VOIP alternative any time they are in the vicinity of a WIFI. T-Mobile was going to introduce VOIP-over-WIFI on some Android phones, but AT&T-mobile might extinguish those plans.

    Looks like Sprint is the only less-evil major provider left after T-mobile is eaten. I will have to seriously consider them for my next contract, even though they are on CDMA and have rather weak

    • Sadly, Google Voice is not yet VOIP without a lot of extremely technical hackery.

      They are experimenting with VOIP support, but it might be a while and there is no guarantee it will be allowed by Sprint :(

      • by Shompol (1690084)
        I have done a few VOIP calls from Google Gmail/Voice recently, and it's pretty solid. All you need is a PC. Sprint might disallow VOIP calls from a smartphone but from a PC it is trivial.
  • I don't get it. I got a GV number. I already use it. I already use Google voicemail, etc. About the only thing I can see this teaming up as buying you is that you can use your old Sprint phone number. I've already went through the exercise of telling everybody my GV number instead of my Sprint number. In my mind my Sprint number is already considered a hidden or private number. Why would I want to now go back and tell everybody "Oh you remember my phone number that I gave you? That was really a Google Voice
    • This obviously isn't intended for you. Nobody said it was. Basic logic should cause you to skip over it since you've already made the transition.

      This is intended for normal Sprint users who just use their phone as normal. Now instead of jumping through hoops and using apps or workarounds, they can simply flip a switch and suddenly receive all of the great Google Voice features for free. Free along with easy is a huge selling point.

      • by MoxFulder (159829)

        This obviously isn't intended for you. Nobody said it was. Basic logic should cause you to skip over it since you've already made the transition.

        This is intended for normal Sprint users who just use their phone as normal. Now instead of jumping through hoops and using apps or workarounds, they can simply flip a switch and suddenly receive all of the great Google Voice features for free. Free along with easy is a huge selling point.

        Heck, I'm an early adopter of GV and a Sprint customer as well... and I'm very happy for this change.

        Benefits of "built-in" GV integration for people like me and the grandparent poster, who already have Google Voice and fancy smartphones:

        • The Android GV app uses background data, which eats battery. If GV texts are transmitted at the CDMA level, they'll use less battery.
        • Android requires a data connection for GV texts and calls, so they're less reliable in marginal coverage areas, and you can't get texts dur
  • Would make AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile USA easier for the regulators.

  • Some mobile plans have that "you can call a few friends for free" plan. Guess what happens when you make your Google Voice number one of your "friends" Read this. http://www.tech-adventures.com/2011/03/make-google-voice-your-freind-and.html [tech-adventures.com]

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