GVMax makes Google Voice and iPhone Play Nice

To my “regular” readers:  I know this post only really targets iPhone users…and to those of you who are iPhone users, it only targets those who use Google Voice. I’m not trying to ignore the rest of you…I just want to share this information. I’ll try to post something soon that’s not so “user specific”.

Recently I posted a review for Meebo for the iPhone because of how seamless it made the transition back and forth between desktop instant messaging to mobile instant messaging. In that post, I mentioned using GVMax with Google Voice. I had put off writing a second post about GVMax because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say about it. But today I found a little nugget of information that I just HAD to share.

For those of you who have an iPhone or iPod Touch and have a Google Voice number, you know how infuriating it is that Apple has not only denied the official Google Voice app, but subsequently pulled all apps directly related to GV. Unless your phone is jailbroken, you are stuck using the web app. It works, but let’s face it, it’s a little clunky. I’m using an iPhone 3G and the site just feels painfully slow, even on WiFi. Plus, it uses the phone’s native dialer instead of allowing you to choose which phone to ring, so iPod Touch users are “out of luck”.

Until GVMax.

What you first find out when you read about GVMax is that you can use it to send your Google Voice SMS messages to the IM client of your choice (it uses your Google Talk account). So you can IM back and forth from your computer, from your phone, from wherever, and the person you’re talking to is getting text messages on their phone. Spiffy. Additionally, if you read the user’s manual, you will find that you can (by virtue of your contact groups in Google Voice) send group text messages.

What I somehow overlooked until today is that you can initiate your Google Voice calls from your instant messaging client. I didn’t see this in any articles I read about GVMax, and somehow I overlooked that when scanning the manual. This is an under-emphasized feature! (iPod Touch users…take note!)

So here’s how it works:

First, you have to have Google Voice. You have to sign up for GVMax. I’m not going to go into those details. Once you start working with the text messaging and getting voicemail transcriptions sent to you by IM, you start building up your GVMax contact list on your buddy list. In the initial stages, it’s a little frustrating as you are working on authorizing the contacts to add you to their “buddy list” since each GVMax contact is a new contact on your GTalk account. You can jump start the process if you read the manual and use the gga {number} command to add the numbers to your contact list (hint, don’t use the brackets). By the way, if that phone number is in your Google Voice contact list, it will show up on your buddy list as “ContactName [Phone]”.

So you get a text or a voicemail and you want to call the person back. First you have to designate which phone you want to use. If you don’t already know your phone index (which you probably won’t if it’s the first time you’re doing this), in any GVMax contact type “ggp” (without the quotes) and send the message. This will send you a message that says something like:

“retrieving available forward phones…”

“1. Home Phone 12145551212
2. Cell Phone 12145551314”

So if you want to use “Home Phone” you then type “ggp 1” (again, without the quotes) and then send the message. You’ll get a response that says something like:

“Foward phone set to : Home Phone”

Now you’re ready to make a call. And as far as I can tell, it keeps that phone selection until you change it, so you don’t have to do it EVERY time you are ready to make a call, just when you want to change the designated phone.

So, if you already have the contact up on your IM client that you want to call (either because you got an SMS or voicemail transcript), you just have to type three little letters – “ggc”. Send the message.

You’ll get a response that says something like: “Placing call to 2145551919, +12145551212 set as forwarding phone”

Then – you wait. Your phone rings. You answer. Google Voice connects your call (the same way it would if you were using a desktop browser to place the call). Awesome.

If you want to call a number that isn’t on your contact list, no sweat! Just open ANY GVMax contact and type “ggc” followed by the number. Like this: ggc 2145558282. It’ll treat it like it did the call to your contact.

How awesome is that?

So using GVMax, you can get true FREE Google Voice SMS through IM. You can initiate calls through that same IM client (even on the iPod Touch!). Oh, and you can play your voicemail, too. The transcription includes a link to the audio. It’s not perfect, but in my opinion it’s more smooth than launching the browser, waiting for the page to load, clicking on a link for contacts, waiting for the page to load, clicking on a contact, waiting for the page to load, etc.

You know, I’ve been using GVMax for SMS and voicemail over IM for several weeks now…and I kept thinking “too bad I can’t just hit a button to call this person back.” If only I’d read the manual thoroughly!

12 responses to “GVMax makes Google Voice and iPhone Play Nice”

  1. There is great information on this blog. I like how you put things. I’ve added the feed to my boomarks and will be sure to spread the word to my friends. I did get some errors with how quick this post loaded. Might be an issue to check out.

  2. Dustin says:

    Hello, Mayhugh…I am so sorry it took me so long to approve and respond to your comments! I’ll be posting sometime soon what has kept me from the interwebs.

    In the mean time –

    If you haven’t already figured it out, it’s actually quite easy. First the contact has to be a GVMax contact (not just any gmail contact). Once they’re on your GVMax contact list, ANY GVMax contact can be used to initiate GVMax commands. For example, if you want to call 2145551212 then you type (without the quotes) “ggc 2145551212). Wait a few minutes, and the phone you have set up to ring will ring. If you are wanting to call someone on your GVMax contact list, then just type “ggc” (again, without quotes), in an IM window for that GVMax contact.

    Does that make sense?

    Let me know if you need further help with it. It’s a great program!

  3. mayhugh says:

    …specifically, how do I make the codes work? they just keep getting sent to contacts as messages.

  4. mayhugh says:

    So I can not figure this out at all… Every time I send the short codes, it just sends that to the contact (ggr, ggc, etc)… I do not understand how to set this up with IM, and I can’t find out how ANYWHERE… It must just be way, way, way easier than I thought, or I’m just COMPLETELY missing it, but I can’t for the life of me figure it out… I’m using Trillian on my iPhone. How do I make this thing work???

  5. Dustin says:

    Hi Tonee – I’m not “real” sure what you’re asking about GVMax Pro…I think (I’m not sure) that’s an older product that’s no longer supported. If you were just asking about GVMax, you can just go to the website https://www.gvmax.com/ (there is also a link in the post).

    I hope I answered your question!

  6. Dustin says:

    Thanks, Jason. I’ll fix that one too…too many typos in this post! lol

    Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Jason says:

    Thanks for this I now have a way to use Nimbuzz and a sip number to make voip calls using my iphone even though I cannot multitask. It was really helpful.

    Also you did fix the first error of gca but you still have it say gca 2145558282 just later on that same line.

  8. Tonee says:

    Hello. Great product by the by!! I was just wondering when or where is gvmax pro and how can I get gvmax pro?? Thanks

  9. Dustin says:

    Hani – I can’t believe I did that! I must have re-read this thing 3 times before posting. Oh well, it’s fixed now. Thanks for letting me know, thanks for stopping by, and most of all, thanks for GVMax! Awesome service!

  10. Dustin says:

    lol Fernando. You’re just jealous cuz you don’t have an iPhone.

  11. Hani says:

    Thanks for writing this up. One note though.
    Towards the end of the post you say ‘Just open ANY GVMax contact and type “gca” followed by the number. Like this: gca 2145558282. It’ll treat it like it did the call to your contact’

    It is ggc not gca 🙂


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