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Google Voice for BlackBerry

Google Voice for BlackBerry

The brand new--and free--Google Voice app for BlackBerry just hit the Web yesterday, but CIO.com's Al Sacco stayed up way past his bedtime last night tinkering with the software and associated service. Sacco's conclusion: The app's still rough around the edges but it adds invaluable functionality: the ability to "dial-out" and send text from your Google Voice number.

Google Voice for BlackBerry: Thumbs Down

Most of my gripes here relate to the Google Voice service and not necessarily the BlackBerry app. But in most instances, if Google were to modify the service to address these complaints, my app-related concerns would be resolved as well.

Atop my list of complaints is the fact that there's really no easy way to determine who's calling you via Google Voice. Sure, you can set your caller ID options--via the online Google portal-- to display callers' names and numbers where available. Or you can choose only to display your Google Voice number as caller ID so you know that the caller dialed you via Google Voice.

But the only way that I've found to determine all of this information at the same time is to enabled Google call screening and caller ID. Then you can see what number's calling, and if it's not a "recognized" number, or one stored in your address book, Google asks the caller to state their name before connecting the call. Then when you pick up, Google Voice tells you who's calling and asks if you want to take the call.

Never mind the fact that it's annoying to callers to receive a recorded greeting instead of the intended recipient, that whole process--checking caller ID, answering call, listening to greeting, accepting/rejecting call--is tedious at best. Ideally, I'd love to see an option that lets you view both the incoming number, caller ID and that fact that the caller dialed my Google Voice number. That would eliminate the need for a silly--and frustrating--greeting, while providing all the information I'd need to decide whether or not to answer the call.

Unfortunately, you can't simply open your BlackBerry Phone app and dial via Google Voice from there. If you attempt to dial from the Phone application, you won't see any Google Voice option. I make the vast majority of phone calls from the Phone app, so this is particularly annoying to me.

I also experienced some minor, but annoying, connectivity issues. For example, I frequently hit the Refresh option in Google Voice Menu but the command really only worked two out of three times on average. When it didn't, I got a frustrating error message, even when I had full cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

I also had to delete the app from my device at one point yesterday and then reinstall it because it stopped connecting my calls. Specifically, whenever I dialed a number through the Google Voice app, my call was instantly dropped. However, the app worked fine again after a fresh install.

I'd also suggest closing out of the application when you're not using it, since it appears to be a bit of resource hog.

And, to make a long review short...

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