Google Voice Releases a Long-Overdue Update

March 30, 2010

Last week Google Voice released an update for Android that made the service essentially perfect as far as I’m concerned. The update makes SMS and voicemail notifications to your Android phone appear almost instantly. Previously SMS and voicemail messages would take up to five minutes to appear on your phone. And in the early days of the service back in July 2009 it was taking even longer. I sometimes saw delays of up to 45 minutes back then, which obviously makes any kind of SMS conversation impossible.

Without knowing for sure I’d say that this update must change SMS and voicemail delivery from pull to push. Previously the Google Voice application running on your Android phone would poll the Google Voice server every five minutes, pulling in new messages at regular intervals. If you received a message just after one of those polls, you wouldn’t see it on your phone until the next poll was sent. With push delivery, anytime the Google Voice server receives a message addressed to you it immediately sends it down to your phone.

Push notification is very popular right now. New services like Boxcar and Notifo allow developers to build push notification into their mobile apps. I’m glad to see Google pushing forward in this direction with Google Vloice as well.

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