Free Calling With Google Voice

Posted: March 22, 2012 in Android, Apps, Droid, Droid X, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S 4G, XOOM
Tags: , , ,

Android is a nice “open” Operating System.  I use the term open loosely because of carrier lock down and other outside factors that are not related to Android but plague most users.  If you are anything like me though you have a few old Android phones lying around.  Android is such a great OS and the apps that are out there make it something I want to carry around without having 3 different Gmail accounts on my daily use phone, I don’t mind carrying a few devices with me either.  Without rooting a phone it was difficult to find a decent dialer or setup that worked well for VOIP.  The method I found has been out there for a while but I am finally getting around to creating a decent article for it since it’s something I have been using while working on my builds.  Read on for the apps and setup that are needed to make use of that old handset you might have lying around.  Tablet and other Android device users such as Galaxy Player users you really need to read this too.

I have been using my Galaxy Nexus since a few days after it released and finally decided to dust off my X2 and use it with a Gmail account that I don’t give nearly enough attention to.  On my PC I use chrome and the multiple users to allow me to have multiple Gmail boxes open at the same time and never really liked how the phones handled having multiple accounts on them.  Especially for things like Google Voice.  It always seemed you had to pick account that  you wanted to use and switching was a chore.  Some apps have made this easier but for me it was always easier to just carry my other phone.  It was always going to waste though or at least under utilized when I did carry it though.  I looked into PBX conversion and setting something up in my house that would allow a SIP trunk and all sorts of different options.  What I really wanted was a way to easily use my Google Voice number so that I could text and talk all using the same number more efficiently.  This is something I would come back to every few months and search around for and try to take advantage of except there was never anything that was easy enough to explain to others that are not as savvy or don’t have Cisco routers in their basement like I do.  Finally I came across the app Groove IP.  This app allows you to utilize your Google Voice account and the “forward to Google Chat” feature that it has added.  OK that is enough background you are probably saying to yourself get on with the instructions already.  For those of you that have read everything up to this point thank you very much.

Instructions

  1. Check the box in your Google Voice Setting to forward calls to Google Chat.  You can do this by logging into your Google Voice account from a browser and then clicking on the gear and then on Settings.  On the “Phones” tab there should be one listed that is Google Chat with your account under it.

    (This does require a Gmail or Google Apps account from what I can gather)
  2.  Install Groove IP from the Play Store.  There are two versions of the app, a free and paid version.  I tried the free one first to make sure it would work then bought the paid version since it is a great app and supporting Android developers is the best way to get more apps like this out there.
    Free Version
    Paid Version
  3. Log into the app with your Google Account and make a call.  I was lucky enough to be able to leave all of the settings on their defaults and everyone I called said that the call sounded fine and I had no issues or echoes.  If you are having issues the developer has a FAQ available here.

Pretty simple right?

The paid version of the app adds some great features as well as removing the adds.

Upgrade to the full version of GrooVe IP (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.gvoip) to remove ads and enable features:
– Calls over a mobile data connection not just WiFi
– Native dialer integration
– Proximity sensor support
– Change sign in status or sign in invisible

Those features are well worth the price of the app.  The proximity sensor feature alone makes it work it.  The first time I made a call I ended up face tapping a link and started playing a YouTube video while I was on the call.

For those of you that have an Android MP3 player such as the Galaxy Player or maybe you have a tablet like the Acer Iconia series, guess what.  This will turn those devices into a phone for the most part.  I have yet to personally try this on my XOOM but will be doing so in the next few days.  Having the paid app I can use the data package on my XOOM which is going to be a really nice feature to have.  If you try it on a tablet or any other Android device please leave a comment telling me what device you are using and any settings tweaks you had to make to make it easy for others who come across this content as well.

I am not sure how this app flew under my radar for so long but I am glad I finally ran across it.

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