One of the most requested features of Google Voice since it was first announced in 2009 is the ability to send and receive MMS messages. The lack of this option was also one of Google Voice’s biggest criticisms from tech enthusiasts and everyday people alike. Today, that all changes.
Google employee Alex Wiesen recently announced on his personal Google+ page that the MMS support is expanding in North America, stating:
We’ve been working with nearly 100 different North American carriers to enable this feature — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Canada, Rogers, Telus, and many more — and starting today all these integrations are live. So enjoy those incoming pics, say goodbye to fomo (fear of missing out), and stay tuned for more Google Voice messaging improvements!
In order to get this working, Google had to work individually with each of these carriers to ensure interoperability. Unfortunately, this was a bit more involved than SMS, and many carriers were reluctant to get on board, fearing that Google Voice could eat into their profit margins. It seems, however, that as carriers move away from minute and message buckets, into all-you-can eat style plans with buckets of data, this fear has lessened, and thus we have this latest development.
Notably, Verizon is the last major carrier in the US and Canada that still doesn’t support MMS. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Rogers, Bell Canada, Telus, and more have all jumped on board. Hopefully this will change, since Verizon still remains the largest carrier in the US, even with the other big three creeping up on it.
As Mr. Wiesen says in his announcement, “If you’re a carrier, and you want to enable MMS support for Google Voice, please let us know. We’re big fans of text messaging interoperability.” Nice.
To start sending and receiving MMS now, make sure that Hangouts integration is enabled, and use the Hangouts app on your Android device.