I’ve been getting into using Google Voice more and more these days since I’m able to send text messages to any phone number without having to pay for an outrageously priced SMS plan. With my iPhone I can use an app like Notifo to get free push notifications for SMS messages that I receive, and then there are several apps to choose from for sending messages using your account (or even Google’s free mobile-optimized site).
The even bigger benefit, however, is that I’m also able to respond to any messages right from my computer. With GVNotifier sending and receiving SMS messages with Google Voice doesn’t seem any more difficult than sending an instant message. If you receive a text message it will popup on the screen, and you can instantly respond from within that window.
Keep in mind that the app also handles calls and voicemails, and Windows 7 users will appreciate the jumplist support that provides quick access to your favorite contacts. At times GVNotifier still feels a bit rough around the edges, but from a functionality aspect it gets the job done.
Here are some frequently asked questions, and some answers provided by the developer:
- Can I change the polling rate?
Yes. Edit %localappdata%\GVNotifierWPF\settings.xml. Look for UpdateFreq, which is in seconds. Using a zero-value will disable updating completely.
- Can I invoke a manual check?
Yes. Call GVNotifier.net.exe /check. (Other arguments include: /signout, /quit and /update_contacts)
- Can I change the notification sound?
Yes. Edit %localappdata%\GVNotifierWPF\new.wav
- Can I dial a number that isn’t in my contacts?
Yes. Type the number into contacts search.
- What hotkeys does GVNotifier support?
While on the message window, Ctrl+N will clear the message log, Ctrl+R will check for new messages immediately. Ctrl+Enter will insert a new line, Escape will close the window. You may also middle-click the tray icon to check for new messages immediately.
- Is GVNotifier portable?
Yes, copy the application files from the GVNotifier install loction. Create a blank text file named settings.xml in the same directory as GVNotifier.net.exe. GVNotifier will then store all preferences and cached contact photos in the same directory.
Unfortunately the developer hasn’t released an update since June 2010, but for the most part it already does everything I want it to. The only thing I’d like to see at this point is an easy way to display the phone number associated with each contact. I have a few contacts that have multiple phone numbers assigned to them, and I have to double-click to open each of their contact entries to find the correct one. That’s just a minor annoyance, and definitely won’t keep me from using the app.