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Google Voice MMS capabilities expanded in North America

Google has expanded carrier support for picture messaging over Google Voice. After working with carriers for support, users on 100 different North American carriers — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Canada, Rogers, Telus, and many more — should now be able to recieve MMS messages on their Google Voice number. There's no word on any carriers outside of North America mentioned. Also, Verizon is conspicuously absent from the list, and users report that MMS over Google Voice isn't working on Big Red.

It's worth noting that there was limited support for picture messaging on some carriers at some times since the Hangouts integration, and we've been able to verify that it's working right now on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile as expected — with a few glitches here and there.

If not being able to receive picture messages was holding you back from using Google Voice, you might want to take a look now if your carrier is supported.

Source: +Alex Wiesen

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

102 Comments
  • Thanks Verizon for nothing.
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App on Verizon Red HTC M8 (GPE ROM)
  • Couldn't agree more. I was wondering why it was sometimes working and sometimes not. I was just blaming it on iPhone since most of them were iPhone users.
  • Interesting support for Canadian carriers who don't officially have Google voice. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yup. BOLO for some news there, I think.
  • Yeah, wish they'd give Canada the green light. I've got voice installed but cant verify my cdn # Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah I'm set up with an Atlanta number. Only thing I can't do is use voice-mail. Posted via Android Central App
  • Do Canadian numbers run off of the same 10 digit format as USA numbers? I don't know how they work, but I thought they were a different country code. Am I wrong?
  • Same 10-digit format and same country code (+1). Canada just has unique area codes than the US.
  • Oh please oh please, I hope this is a sign that Google will be announcing Voice (and even Wallet!) in Canada with the release of the big beautiful Nexus 6.
  • This would be more useful if you could actually use Google Voice as your default messing app in KitKat. Anyone with Google Voice integration on Sprint figure out how to receive SMS's in Hangouts? When I enabled this, I stopped receiving texts completely so I had to reverse it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Is your Sprint number your GV number? I have a different GV number than my Sprint number and it's working fine for me
  • Works for me as well on sprint with the separate numbers Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's the same number. Any ideas on a fix or do I need to wait for an update from Google? Posted via Android Central App
  • Worked fine for me after I got the hangouts/voice integration prompt. I had combined my Sprint and GV numbers (one number).
  • you can turn it on from the computer hangouts...the little arrow next to search
  • Its a known issue that hangouts integration with Sprint integration causes all sorts of problems. I had a problem where sending a message to someone would result in them receiving it upwards of 50 times. A quick google search of the issue came up with hundreds of people using the Sprint/Voice integration having issues when integrating voice and hangouts, with the only cure to be to disable the hangouts integration until further notice.
  • I disabled integration and got separate GV number and it's working fine except not getting mms from vzn users Posted via Android Central App
  • Thanks, I had seen other people post about the same thing so I was wondering if there was a known fix.
  • Any idea about s fix for this? I've had the same problem. Even taking it one step further, when I would receive a call and answer it I would still here ringing from the hangouts dialer while on the call. Very annoying so I disabled it. Wtf Sprint is suppose to have "seemless integration" with GV. Guessing hangouts doesn't.
    :/
  • i'm confused. is the Verizon MMS Fail if the SENDER is on Verizon or if you the RECEIVER is using Verizon?
  • This is about receiving messages. Users on Verizon say they can not receive them via Google Voice.
  • ok thanks for the clarification. Sender=Any Carrier, Receiver using GV on Any But Verizon = OK MMS
    Sender=Any Carrier, Receiver using GV on Verizon = FAIL MMS
  • I am not receiving them on sprint from Verizon senders
  • that's exactly what i was worried about and why i questioned it! so it looks like - 1. Sender=Any Carrier But VZW, Receiver using GV on Any But VZW = OK MMS
    2. Sender=Any Carrier, Receiver using GV on VZW = FAIL MMS
    3. Sender=VZW, Receiver using GV on Any Carrier = FAIL MMS
  • I'm not receiving on ATT from Verizon senders. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Me either Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.
  • I was able to receive from Verizon on AT&T and T-Mobile. They were unable to receive any I sent on Verizon via their GV number. FWIW, sending and receiving seems pretty flawless between AT&T and T-Mobile using the Hangouts app for GV.
  • I'm not recieving on computer on sprint with intergration unless the sender is from GV
  • MMS was received in Hangouts fine but when I reply back with a picture message, it sent a link to the receiver instead....very annoying.
  • I get them in email because I have GV set to forward a copy of my text messages there. I'm using a GMail filter to bypass the inbox and place them in their own label. But they don't show up at all in Hangouts in a VZW phone. Right now that's the work around.
  • The way you worded that is a little confusing. It doesn't matter what carrier you're on. What matters is the carrier the person you're texting is on. Anyone on Verizon sending a pic to a Google Voice number will not have their message go through. People on Verizon who use Google Voice will still receive pics from anyone else on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.
  • Pretty sure it would be both directions. The point is that Google Voice can't communicate with Verizon's MMS protocol.
  • this is a dealbreaker for me. i have a shitload of friends on VZW and i don't want to be out of the loop on group texts and titty pics.
  • At last! Awesome! Posted via the Android Central App
  • How does one send an MMS via GV? The normal GV client doesn't seem to allow MMS/pictures and if I use Hangouts than it sends sms and/or MMS via my regular cell phone number.
  • choose GV number in the settings under sms, there is no way to change which number sms is sent from outside of going into settings yet
  • thank you. that worked perfectly.
  • You have to be using the updated Hangouts 2.3 with Android KitKat to be able to MMS. You cannot MMS with the original GV app.
  • It'd be really nice if they fixed MMS to work correctly in Hangouts without having to touch to download every message.
  • Sounds like a carrier issue, that usually happens when the message couldn't be downloaded at time of receipt... Some messaging apps also have an option to force that behavior, never seen it happen on Hangouts myself unless I had marginal signal strength.
  • Could be. I have the option checked to auto download MMS, but that has never worked. When any MMS comes in, it says below that mobile data is disabled (it's not) and touch to download. :( Seems to happen mostly when connected to WiFi, as it seems the app thinks mobile data is disabled.
  • What carrier do you have? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Currently on Cricket (ATT), but same problem occurred on StraightTalk (ATT) also. Maybe the prepaid thing is to blame? Seems like a problem with Hangouts though, because it will not receive MMS while on WiFi, acting as if there is no mobile data at that time to pull the MMS down.
  • I always had that problem on Sprint and Verizon on all Android phones I have used over the years: WiFi connected = cannot send or receive MMS. I always assumed it's a CDMA issue with the phone viewing the WiFi connection as if it was CDMA's data path. Haven't seen it at all since I switched to T-Mobile and GSM.
  • Interesting, that's pretty much what I believe is happening in my case and don't know of a solution. :( Posted via Android Central App with my white Nexus 4 on Cricket
  • Never had that issue on Tmobile prepaid. I did just send a gVoice MMS to a coworker on ATT and it was received but as a link he had to click to load the picture. Not sure if that's how it's supposed to work. would only use gVoice SMS/MMS oversees on wifi (or in a concrete bunker w/ wifi like my office building) since I have unlimited texts. I'm most impressed with how well gVoice/Talk over wifi/data works compared to the old grooveIP type solution. After the initial few second lag it may be clearer than carrier voice calls. Makes my awesome $30 plan that much better!
  • Same here - contact Cricket to ask that they also work with Google Voice!
  • My Hangouts pop up the picture right away...no need to click Download.
  • I have been able to receive MMS messages FROM a Canadian Telus user for a few years now. They show up in the Google Voice app or email. I am unable to receive them into my default phone message app. Have been able to receive on Virgin Mobile (Sprint) and Metro-PCS (T-Mobile) I am NOT able to send him MMS messages via the handset, although I can to US Sprint based phones..
  • so i'm thinking about maybe porting my number to Google Voice now that MMS appears squared away. my number is with AT&T GoPhone now and i already use GV "Lite" for Voicemail. i don't see any downsides left. are there any? latency? call quality? software glitches? i like the fact that you can travel internationally with your number.
  • If you are NOT on wifi making calls will count towards your data, if you are NOT on an unlimited data plan you are going to chew up data for sms and phone calls, whereas most plans have unlimited text and calling
  • oh good point i didn't think of that. i have Unlimited Talk/Text but only 2.5GB of data/month and typically use about 2GB/month. so Google Voice will use my data for every call i'm away from WIFI - that's no good since i'll surely burn through my 2.5GB with phone calls when i'm out and about. i better stay put. thanks.
  • Well, sort of. It depends. You can still make calls with your Gvoice number using your regular minutes, just as you did in the past. It will only use Wifi/Data if you are calling through voip in the Hangouts app.
  • Only VOIP calls will use data. Normal Google Voice calls are cellular-based and don't use data. That is, is you use the default dialer (with the Google Voice app installed), you won't use data. If you use the Hangouts Dialer to make a call it will use data.
  • VOIP calls use very little data. It's nowhere near as data intensive as streaming music. I wouldn't worry about that aspect of it. Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies
  • Damn it Verizon. Posted via Android Central App
  • So is this JUST for receiving pictures and NOT sending them from GVoice, correct?
    My pictures are still sending as a link, but I can indeed receive pictures to my Voice number. Receiving them is a big step, but being able to easily send them without it being a link is the final hurdle to get me to port my number over, but this is soooooooo much closer now.
  • I've been able to receive MMS messages for awhile via email, so that's not a big deal to me. I really want to be able to send MMS via my GV number. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As a Canadian I've wanted Google voice for so long I've forgotten why... Anyone care to help me out?
  • About Google Voice Lite If you don't want to sign up for a new Google number, you can get a Google Voice Lite account which, will still let you enjoy some of the Google Voice benefits incuding: Voicemail like email - Save voicemail messages for as long as you'd like, star important ones, and search through them
    Voicemail transcription - Voicemail messages will be automatically transcribed to text and forwarded to you via email and/or text message.
    Custom voicemail greetings - Customize your voicemail greeting based on who is calling.
    International calling - Make low priced international calls from the web or from your phone. https://support.google.com/voice/answer/115127?hl=en
  • I feel like by the time we get Google Voice in Canada we will all be purchasing data-only plans and using VOIP via Hangouts, Messenger etc. I already use Messenger and Hangouts more than calling/texting via my carrier. Sidenote - voicemail is the worst.
  • This is a really good sign that Google's taking Voice seriously again.
  • Great timing google, right after I leave GV. Now how about supporting AK and HI area code number porting in Google voice so I can switch back?! We're part of the US too you know.
  • Sprint is the only way to get 808 GV...also the only reason to get sprint in hawaii
  • Yup, that's for sure. Their network here is rubbish and I finally gave up on them after almost 15 years as a customer. I switched to the home phone connect device, which was the cheapest way I could find to maintain a sprint line solely to take advantage of the GV integration.
  • Does anyone know, to use Google voice/hangouts require Google +? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope - Google+ was never integrated into Voice, so maybe it's a good thing Google forgot about that service for a while. Indeed, Google recently pulled the G+ requirement out of Hangouts -- like Voice, you need only your standard Google account to enjoy both services and link them together: http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/30/hangouts-now-works-without-google-accou... Google+ probably won't vanish anytime soon, but the writing on the wall suggests it will be scaled back drastically if not eventually killed off completely.
  • I'm still curious as to why u can only send one picture at a time still in hangouts Posted via the Android Central App
  • We still don't have Google Voice in Canada so I'm not sure how this announcement would affect us. It's nice to know the Big 3 had allowed this feature even though no one in Canada can quite use it right now...
  • I think the fact that they got Canadian carriers on board means that support for Google Voice in Canada is coming pretty soon. Why bother getting them onboard otherwise? They're thinking ahead, getting ready for that moment.
  • It's progress, though Verizon doesn't surprise me one bit. Keep at it Google. Now figure out what to do with the back-end management. The old Google Voice site is pretty clunky, especially in a mobile browser. Also, merged conversations needs to happen on the desktop client.
  • I have not been able to get GV through Hangouts to show in GV online like it did with the GV app. Maybe I missed something during the setup, but it's not working. I am on Sprint, and have been using GV for years, I also have my Sprint Number as my GV number. Any ideas folks? Thanks Paul
  • Go on computer Google +. Go to hangouts click arrow next to search and turn on SMS in hangouts.
  • Thank you for the reply, I had tried that option as well, but it didn't work either. I am trying to keep all messages going to the GV site, reason for doing so is that I use an app on my Mac call GrowlVoice and it connects an syncs with GV. Is is possible for the messages sent in Hangouts to sync or go to the GV site? Thank you.
  • this is all well and good...loving to progress but obviously the largest carrier in the country needs to be able to send mms to google voice to make this really works. Well that and the fact that if i send a mms from my google voice number it appears as a link to anyone that does not also have google voice. That looks really fishy to just about everyone who is not a geek
  • I gave up on the entire MMS Google Voice thing long ago. Just told my friends I don't get them. Some adapted and send via other channels. The ones who didn't adapt were sending me crap anyway. I gained a huge amount of freedom with GV and only lost some meme and kitten texts. Not really a big deal. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Since I can't use a cell phone in my work place, I'm still reliant on the web interface for Google Voice. Does the MMS work now for their web interface? (I haven't made the transition to Hangouts yet, in part because of this issue)
  • I hope that you meant that your Gmail is transitioned to Hangouts, and that you haven't transitioned your Google Voice to Hangouts yet. Receiving photos works quite well, and it's quite nice to get things the same way that I do regular chats. I myself hesitated for a week or so, but definitely enjoy the switch.
  • Lol at useless Verizon...only know to put ugly logos and crap. Samsung and Verizon, perfect match.
  • With how slow Verizon was with testing android updates for the Galaxy Nexus, I wouldn't be surprised if Verizon already agreed and simply is taking their time testing... 6 months later, it might work.
  • Fail. Still can't group text. I could care less about attaching photo's, I just miss out on so many group texts from my iphone friends.
  • iPhone friends? I think it's a standard.. iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry had it in the OS for a while before Android finally caught on (thank god.) I'm just hoping to receive them at least. I've been able to receive them from T-Mobile and Sprint users, but of course they come in as "SMS" (and, accordingly, from one person). I guess AT&T is part of this mix now.
  • Outgoing, you still can't add multiple people to an MMS through Google Voice. Incoming, I haven't had anyone try to add me to a group text since this past Friday, which I didn't get. Will have to have someone test it out for me in the next few days.
  • Back up phone number in full affect! Fires voice mail work? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does it actually send photos, or does it send a link you have to click thru? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I tested it. I sent a picture from my google voice number in hangout to my regular cell number. I only got a link to the picture. I am on AT&T network.
  • Google is making moves before android L is released. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just FYI. I'm in Vietnam now, where there isn't mms messaging but I'm able to send and receive mms from my Google voice number.. now only if there was an easy way to switch from Google voice and my regular cell phone number I'd be pretty happy.
  • Yeah, this is pretty awesome...
  • If google wants to compete with WhatsApp, this is the way to go. Just need to to bring these features faster to more market worldwide.
  • I sent a picture from my tablet to my cellphone. All I got was a link for the picture, not the picture itself. When I sent a picture from my cellphone to my tablet, the tablet received the picture. What gives?
  • I think that's how it's supposed to work (for now). The big deal here is being able to receive a picture via Google Voice. Hopefully someday soon they make sending the actual MMS and not a link a possibility
  • Ohh soo cool!! This would be so useful.. If I didn't stop using Voice.. Too little too fuckn late Google. Can't believe I gave you fuckers $20 to port my number.
  • Classy reply John.
  • I am on Verizon and using full GV integration with Hangouts. I am able to receive pictures from Sprint, T-Mobile and ATT. (That's all I've tested). I can not send anyone pics. I believe this is exactly what the original article said. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Verizon is conspicuously absent" Shocker! (NOT) I think Verizon enjoys being lame...
  • Use Sprint integration GV with Hangouts.... My issue was whoever I would text would not see my emojis - just those stupid little boxes w/diamonds in them. How am I supposed to send my little pile a poo if they can't see it?! So I disconnected my GV account.
  • I have an odd glitch, I receive the MMS (picture sent from AT&T S4's number to another AT&T S4's GV number, the first S4 is my work cell, the second S4 is my personal S4) I get the MMS, but I do not get a notification that the MMS actually arrives. If I go into hangouts, I see the picture "arrive" (the animation of the MMS arriving) with a note of "5 minutes ago via Google Voice" or something like that. So it arrives but does not actually notify me it did. SMS notifies me correctly.
  • Awesome! Not surprised about no Verizon..
  • I use it all the time on t-mobile. I love how it syncs into hangouts. I look forward to full integration, meaning when i send a pic, it doesn't send a link. By in large it is a huge improvement over voice :-)
  • Verizon. C'mon. WTH?!?!?!