I know, I know. Just hours ago we told you the Sprint + Google Voice party was going public on April 26. That hasn't changed.

What has changed is that this very writer of Android Central got his invite a little early, so I'm going to walk you through the (harmless) process of porting your number over.

(Pictures included!)

Join me after the break if you're curious as to what's going live in a mere five days.

It all starts with an e-mail.

Hello,

You have been invited to start enjoying the benefits of the Sprint integration before anyone else!

One of two things is going to happen when you head to your Google Voice settings:

  1. You'll click on the "Port my number" link and it's going to ask you for $20 and warn you you'll terminate your wireless contract
  2. You'll be greeted with a popup window that walks you through everything

If Option 1 happens to you (as it originally did to me), don't fret. Google just got a little ahead of themselves and it'll be another 15 minutes. Eventually, you'll see this popup:

When you see this, you know good things are about to happen.

If you're like me and want to use your Sprint number as your Google Voice number, simply click the top link. Google will call your phone and ask for a two-digit verification number (which will be displayed on your browser's screen). All you need to do is enter that number on your phone and let Google do the rest.

When it's all setup, your Voice Settings page on Google Voice will look a bit different. Your Sprint number proudly takes the place of your (former) Google Voice number, plus you get all sorts of Sprint logos thrown around, willy-nilly.

If you had a Google Voice number prior to making the switch, you get three free months remaining before it expires, so you'll still receive texts and calls there. Kudos to Google for giving us plenty of time to let people update our number.

But what about the MMS?

As wonderful as Google Voice is, we all know there is a glaring problem with the utter lack of MMS support. Being the responsible bloggers and sleuths we are, myself and our very own Jerry Hildenbrand took to both the stock app and Google Voice to see what we might uncover.

Our first test had Jerry sending me a text to my cell phone (and now Google Voice) number. What we found is that Google Voice receives the message by itself and your stock messaging app doesn't make a sound.

You'll notice my response was from the stock messaging app but still shows up in Google Voice. A bit of interesting, one-way trickery/black magic/voodoo Google has up their sleeves, to say the least.

Our next (and final) trick for the night had Jerry sending me a picture message to see if Google Voice would show a blank message. What we discovered, however, is that if you're receiving a MMS, the message bypasses Google Voice altogether and goes straight to the stock app. I sent him a reply (also from the stock app) and he received it, all from the one number I'm now using.

All in all, I've got to say I'm very impressed with the entire Sprint + Google Voice deal. Google Voice works just as well as it did before, but only having to use one number and getting to receive MMS just makes the deal all the sweeter.

So set your clocks folks, and hide yours kids, hide your wife, because come April 26th, we portin' everybody (well, Sprint users) out here.

 

Reader comments

Sprint + Google Voice early invites still going out -- first impressions

82 Comments

what if i want to keep the GV number i already have and use the sprint integration? i guess i have to use a different gmail account than the one my GV number is on? this doesn't seem as awesome as i originally thought.

not in lieu. in addition to. like s2konstantine says below... the benefit of GV is having two numbers. i don't want to integrate my sprint number, lose my GV number after 90 days, then next year (or whenever) go to another carrier that may or may not support GV the same way sprint is now. then i have to get ANOTHER GV number.

Ah, I gotcha. Well, fortunately, you're not forced into integrating them at all. If you look at the first picture after the break, there's a "No, thanks" option, too!

I just tried it out and it does keep the GV number you already have and use the sprint integration like I think you want. Essentially, your sprint # becomes equal to the GV #, so when people call or text it, it shows up on both the sprint phone and any other phone you have set up with GV. This was great for me, because I was tired of people wondering why I had 2 numbers, but didn't want to remove the sprint # since old friends have that one. This way, all outgoing texts and calls will be from GV, but incoming can be from either GV or sprint #.

With option 2 you still do have 2 numbers, just one outgoing #. For android phones this isn't as huge of a deal, but for dumbphones, webos, windows phone, and any other non android phone it's great. Even on android phones I like it better since it doesn't have a delay when you call out and you have the choice of using the stock sms app as well as the google voice app for texts.

I got one of those invites. Love my Sprint + Google Voice. I only wish that I could use my regular Visual Voicemail app with the voicemail service on Google Voice!

Why? The GV voicemail is vastly superior in every way. You get audio, you get text, you can get it via Email, on the web, on a borrowed computer. Why would you want to be stuck with your carriers Voice Mail?

I'm using this now and there are several advantages:
1. Use GV to manage all your texts, calls, and voicemails.
2. No need for root users on Sprint to have to flash a Sense ROM to update pri.
3. No need to use apps to backup SMS
4. If your phone dies or goes to Hell you can still use your Voice account

There are more I'm sure, I'll find out the more I use it.

Using GV you can do all this already. Just give everyone your GV number. Plus you have your original number for anyone you feel is special enough to have it.

Yes, but I just wanted one number, not two. This benefits me because I can have Google Voice, Sprint and only one number.

How does this help? I mean, how does it affect your plan minutes?

Does this mean we'll never, ever use ANY of our included minutes no matter what number we call or calls us?

In other words, I have 450 included daytime minutes. Will that become moot? It's already about 400 minutes more than I need.

Advantage: if you're in a bad/no coverage area you can fire up wifi (if available) and still be able to s/r calls and SMS. You can now do everything on one number instead of telling your friends to text your GV number. I like it plus you get extra voicemail options.

Can you make a wifi call through the handset? I just got an invite this afternoon, and have had it set up for the last 30 minutes, but I don't see a way to do wifi calling through GV on the Evo.

It's good that MMS goes through to the phone. But what about the cloud? IMHO, the best feature of Google Voice is storing everything in the cloud: call history, voicemails, SMS; and the ability to call and send SMS from the desktop browser. Does the MMS show up in the desktop browser GV interface?

What is the point? Sprint gives you free texting and free visual voice mail. This would be great on Verizon, but is useless on Sprint.

Read my above post. Furthermore Google stores call logs, messages, vm to the cloud. You can be at your desk computer and text as well as receive calls without being on your phone (headset or speaker needed)

Do you still get free text messages if you use the messaging app instead of the voice app?

If not this is kind of pointless.

I got my beta invite today and I sort of dont see the point, I still rather use the voice app instead. I might use the meassaging app once i find out if we still get free text messages.

cd5love96: Google voice makes calls through the voice network, not data. No calls on wifi...it isn't VOIP.

Ooops! This number appears to be from an area we don't currently support.
Anybody getting this message? I have been trying to port my number for months...even if I had to pay, but I always get this message. I have a Hawaii number that I have had for 21 years......as for the main advantages for me is that if you ever switch carriers....you don't have to change(port) your number or worry that it won't transfer over for whatever reason.

Same problem here, in west central Missouri -- quite a long way from Hawaii to be certain. I ported this number from AT&T to Sprint and have the same problem. It's quite annoying because this is functionality I would love to take advantage of.

I got in and used option 1 now I'm having issues with SMS taking forever to show up in the default messaging app. They show up instantly in the Voice app though. Anyone else? FYI for anyone with no data coverage.

So, I have been thinking about getting setup with GV, but I haven't yet. Would it be best to wait until the 26th when it's official or will you still have to do the porting thing?

I'm still not sure what the point to this whole deal is?

I was using Cm and tried for months to get GV to work for my voicemails and I always got the same error when I dialed the number they gave.. "the feature code is not valid". Then one day, out of the blue, GV started working.

So I installed the app only to find it was causing one beast of a wakelock. So I uninstalled the app.. but whenever I try to get GV to STOP hijacking my VMs, I get the same stupid error "the feature code is not valid". The google help forums are a complete and total joke as well. I have had a few threads there asking for help for months now.

It's a mess and I really don't see the point in this whole thing.

Sorry you are having problems, Batman05, but your post doesn't make much sense ... are you saying GV on Sprint has no point because it doesn't work because it failed for you? But most people don't have the problems you are having. Or are you saying that you don't think the features of GV are useful? But if they aren't useful, why did you try to use it in the first place?

One possible disadvantage, assuming you are on the $69.99 plan whereby you have unlimited any mobile to any mobile and you have 450 anytime minutes. In addition you use Sprint @home with that one number thing for $5. If you use that Sprint @home one number currently as your google voice number, wouldn't you then lose the ability to call unlimited landlines, 800 numbers, to Canada, (all by straight manual dial) etc, if you port your current Google voice number over to Sprint? Admittedly, that would be a lot of non mobile to mobile talking, but wouldn't that occur. For those on unlimited calling, of course, it wouldn't matter anyway.

Really, if you don't like quality phone calls, GV is a cool service. However, if you like to actually talk to people in real time, avoid GV. The lag on calls (particularly cell-to-cell) is very annoying.

Not always. It can be spotty, but most of mine are very good.

One guy found it was like 600ms for GV, vs 200 for direct Cellular, but it varied wildly.

So all texts will go through the GV app on your phone, and the stock message app won't show a notification? Except for MMS, then the stock message shows a notification? Seems pretty confusing.

From my brief experience, yes. But if you receive a MMS, you get a notification from the stock app. It's actually rather fluid, plus it helps you keep everything separate, if that matters.

bubbatex, Google Voice uses the voice network for calls the same as regular calls. It is not VOIP. No way it can cause lag.

Yes it can cause lag and sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Its been getting better, but it still lags.

Go get your house phone and call your GV number and then call your cell number directly. You will see.

@tim - incorrect. See what icebike said. The calls are still routing though an extra switch. So you have cell to land line to GV switch to land line and to the other cell. If it works for some of you, great. But from here in Austin, TX, it lags too much for me. Skype has better call quality for me.

Go to settings and select "notifications via text message." If you don't want 2x notifications, unselect Inbox notifications. You can also have voicemail notifications delivered via text but I think you have to do that through the settings on the website.

The only problem I've found is you can't reply to a text from an email address even trough a stock app. Apparently it still goes through Google's system which does not allow that.

Cool! Thanks. I didn't really like the idea of having to use the GV app for SMS, but since you can still use your stock or third party app, I'am all for this GV + Sprint thing.

I also received an invite today. It was great. The only problem I had was I couldn't reply to text messages sent from an email address. I have more people than most that send me text messages from an email address because of work restrictions so that's a deal breaker for me. Hopefully it's something they will work out soon.

I used GV for a month and liked the voicemail part but I would rather use the handcent SMS app and could not figure out how to stop GV from intercepting my SMS messages. Went back to Sprint VM so I can keep my SMS app.

If someone knows how to stop GV from intercepting SMS messages I would be interested in trying again.

Go to settings and select "notifications via text message." If you don't want 2x notifications, unselect Inbox notifications. You can also have voicemail notifications delivered via text but I think you have to do that through the settings on the website.

The only problem I've found is you can't reply to a text from an email address even trough a stock app. Apparently it still goes through Google's system which does not allow that.

I love it! MMS disappointed but o well i don't get many. Mostly email pictures anyways.

I LOVE THE SMS through the app and computer and the phone calls. Needs some tweaking. I don't know why you can make a phone call from the voice website but not receive it there. Also if you receive in gmail through chat why not receive text there as well.

Actually now that I'm thinking about this SMS through the data connection now. I don't know how I feel about that. When your having data issues or your on the phone....

I was really excited about doing this, but the more I thought about it, the more I like my current setup. The main reason for google voice was that i like to use a landline at home and not carry my cell around.

What has happened over the past 2 years of google voice is that I am using the GV number as my primary residence number and give it to businesses. Friends and Family still call the cell. The separation of 2 numbers works well and if friends and family call the cell, I can just not answer and the call gets forwarded to GV (house + work).

If I never had GV to begin with I would probably start all over and just use my cell number, but dont see a point at this stage in my integration.

Nope! If that's what you're being told, wait longer (assuming you've been given an invite), and GVoice will let you know when you're able to integrate Sprint into Google Voice.

I'm so psyched for this... Tuesday can't come soon enough. I've got a question regarding SMS, forgive me if it sounds a bit odd, I've never used GV so maybe it doesn't work like I'm picturing it. Anyway, if you set it so that texts are forwarded to your phone so that you can keep using the stock SMS app, and you then disable GV notifications for SMS, would that leave a bunch of messages marked as unread on your GV account inbox? Or does it sync intelligently? Or are messages just not tagged as read/unread on the web interface?

I just wanna be able to text from my phone and my computer without dual notifications or creating a mess, if I have to use the GV app on the phone I'll cave but I'd prefer to use the stock app.

I am really not liking that MMS and SMS have to be handled in separate apps AND/OR that there is no option to stop GV intercepting SMS.

C'mon Google!, you guys are suppose to simplify things!!!

Doesn't have to be separate apps, you could handle it all on the stock app, just enable the setting on the web interface to pass the messages on to the phone (where they can be handled by your stock app or something like Handcent). Of that much I'm sure, I'm just not sure about some of the specifics while doing that (regarding notifications and how it syncs up with the web interface/history, or doesn't).

This article could've gone a bit more in depth imo, for those of us not in the beta (particularly those who've never used GV)! It didn't really represent all the available options well, and made it seem like the very basic configuration that was explained was the only way to use the service...

Seperate apps are not possible at least not to my standards which I think are pretty normal.

Text (SMS/MMS) --> Handcent (or other stock android app)
Voicemail --> Google Voice app (or other voicemail app).

That's not possible with Google voice no matter how you slice it. Google voice treats SMS and Voicemessages as if they are the same type of communication. While you can send BOTH to your text message app, or none.. you cannot seperate them. Nor is there a QUICk method to toggle your apps view between text/sms (Takes 3 Clicks, Menu-Labels-Text, or Menu-Labels-Voice). I want a quick way if I'm to leave them in the apps.. like ohhh Slide Left for Text.. Right for voice or leave center for both.

Ultimately I will switch to GVoice for all my phone needs but I won't be happy about having to see voicemail in my text messaging app :( Booo Google.

I like the fact that I can use two numbers. My gv# to busineses so that when they sell it to telemarketers I just block them while my real number is safe and sound. Plus if and when I change carriers (never! I love sprint) or change numbers, the GV routes my calls. GV stays the same. Or if one day I am late paying my bill and I get disconected , I can route my calls elsewhere. If you get disconected with the new sprint set up, will the GV part of it work online or is that gone too? These are all scenarios where the GV number comes in handy while sepreated from your real cell number.

I agree I really like having two numbers. I hope they don't force us to switch over to gv in the future.

What if you have two google accounts? Can you port your sprint number to one of those accounts, and keep your pre-existing gv number on the other? How would the phone handle that?

That's true. The benefit would be to be able to use your sprint number with all the gv goodies and still have a "junk mail" google voice number.

How does this work for international calling? I currently use call back to make cheap international calls

Joshua asked skippyrulz:

"Do you mean opt to use your Google Voice number in lieu of your Sprint number?"

To which skippyrulz basically replied no.

I was always wondering if I can just drop my Sprint number and replace it with my Google Voice number--not add to it. I wanted to have just one number as both my Sprint and Google Voice number.

Is this possible?

yes..

this is straight from the email i got:

"There are two ways to enable the integrated service:

1. Option 1: Keep your Sprint number (all the benefits of porting without the need to). In this case, your Sprint number becomes your Google Voice number so that when people call your Sprint mobile number, it rings all the phones you want.

2. Option 2: Replace your Sprint number with your Google Voice number (all the benefits of the app without the need for one). In this case, all calls made from your Sprint phone will display your Google Voice # natively (same for SMS)."

This sounds like it will make things more convoluted since with MMS involved it now can use 2 apps for messaging rather than one. Plus it'll defeat one of the purposes of GV which is to make your number more portable. With this in place my number will be locked to Sprint for the duration of my contract.

So, I'm tempted to do this, but I need to keep my current GV # because it's printed on business cards, and I need to keep my Sprint # because so many people have it. Can I do this past the 90 Google keeps my GV # active for me?

Some of you are missing the intent. If you're the type of person that needs/wants to maintain two numbers then don't do the integration. The whole point of the integration is to use ONE number.

Not missing the intent at all. I want the integration of my mobile number for the benefits that GV offers. However since I have established my current GV # on business cards and such I would like to maintain it under a different Google account after the 90 days is up and auto forward it to my mobile as I do now. I don't see a clear cut path to do so.

Plus, my mobile number is local to where I grew up and I keep it mostly for family to reach me without tolls. My current GV # is local to where I live so that I can give a local # to people I meet and do business with.

It is still extremely beneficial to have both #'s for that reason...but integrating my mobile with GV is beneficial as well.

So the question is: Does anyone know if I can request my old GV #from a different account after the 90 days has expired? If not then, fine. But please don't assume that I "don't get the intent."

"Just hours ago we told you the Sprint + Google Voice party was going public on April 26. That hasn't changed."

Except it apparently has. April 27, and no rollout.

Has this gone live with anyone yet? Other than those that have already said they have it? Anyone new? Or recent?

Dont wait for the roll out. go to Google Voice and click on the gear in the upper right hand corner. Yo9ur number should come up and a link to check to see if your number is ready for integration.

Oh well the 26th has come and gone. I have tried everything to get an invite to sign up for this new Sprint/Google service. I've called Sprint on several occasions and they kept trying to help but finally told me I just have to wait until I receive "the email" from Google telling me it is my "appointed" time to be blessed with this new offering. I have clicked on the gear in the upper right hand corner and there is nothing there stating my number is ready for integration.