This month Google released the official Google Voice app with much fanfare. While some may think this spelled imminent doom for third party developers, others (myself included) aren’t quite so sure. Back in September I reviewed the GV Connect and GV Mobile + apps for iPhone, and am now ready to compare them with the official GV app.
Upon installing the first thing that greeted me was a request to send push notifications for missed calls, SMS and voice messages. Yes! This was a major missing piece of the puzzle with both GV Connect and GV Mobile+. The inbox is integrated with voice and text messages, and enhanced with the addition of profile pics when available. Great feature allowing you to put a face to a name/number.
The interface is clean, intuitive and easy to use for the most part – that is – when it works. I’ve had many instances where the apps crashes, freezes or is non-responsive. This buggyness (is that a word?) is compounded by the fact that upon start up, the app does not appear to display history or stored messages locally. The app (at least from what I can tell) has to sync with Google servers first before displaying older messages. This is definitely not the case with either of the two 3rd party apps.
Another annoyance is not being able to toggle and view only unopened messages. GV Mobile+ is the same way, but GV Connect does have this feature. Quick Dial (favorites) can be set and adjusted by order of preference, but share the same screen as recent calls.
Conclusion: In their attempt to simplify, Google may have combined some features to appear together that will take some getting used to. Cosmetics aside, the real problem is the lack of stability, failure to launch and having to wait and wait for the message history to load. An update is most certainly in the works. Till then, I find myself still using the 3rd party apps for most everything, but enjoying the push notifications that come from Google’s GV app.