I love Google Voice. The day Google decides that it, like Google Photos, deserves to be paid for, I might actually pull the trigger; having a secondary phone number that you can forward to your real one, thereby concealing the latter, is incredibly useful. And the day Google Voice goes away — should that ever come — I will be very sad.
Easy as Google Voice is to use, in that you literally just go into its settings and pick the option to forward calls and/or text messages to your real number, Google is making a change that means you’ll now have to download the app on your device if you want to use the service’s capabilities to their fullest. According to a recent Android Police report, Google will soon remove the ability to forward text messages from your Google Voice number to your real phone number.
As Michael Crider writes:
This is particularly bad news for those of us who’ve been using Google Voice as effectively our only phone number, forwarding it to new SIMs and devices as we get them. Phones tend to lean on their default texting app for integration into a lot of other services. The Google Voice app usually covers those, but it isn’t particularly friendly with the rest of Android outside of the notification basics.
Before you blame Google for making this change, however, know that it’s actually not Google’s fault this time around. Apparently, a number of carriers are starting to block these forwarded text messages — perhaps incorrectly assuming they are spam. My assumption is that Google would rather have a manageable experience (in this case, no feature at all), rather than an inconsistent one.
So, if you want to view and reply to text messages that get sent to your Google Voice number, you’ll probably want to install the Google Voice app (iOS, Android). If you’re not feeling that option for whatever reason, you could also just go into Google Voice’s settings and forward every message you get to your email address. You can then reply to the email to reply to the text — a more cumbersome method, especially if your friends are chatty, but an option nevertheless.