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The Fatal Flaw That Will Keep You From Using Google Voice as Your Single Phone Number

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Google Voice has been touted as the one number to use in place of your others, since a call to your Voice number will ring all of your phones.  Indeed, between that feature and several others, Voice is handy.  For full details on Voice, check out our Google Voice Primer.  Google Voice isn’t without shortcomings, though.  We covered five of them last year (a couple of those have since been fixed).  Somehow, though, we missed Voice’s biggest shortcoming, that will prevent it from ever being a replacement telephone number for many people.

Voice’s biggest shortcoming is that it doesn’t support the sending of photos by text message (MMS).  Did you know that?  I didn’t, until recently.  I finally ordered an Android phone, and was excited to start telling everyone that I had a new phone number – my Google Voice number.  A day before my new phone arrived, someone tried to send me an MMS message, so that I could open it at my computer via the Voice web interface.  That message never arrived.  Worse, neither I nor the sender were alerted to the fact that it had failed.  The message fell off into a black hole, never to be seen again.  Sure enough, a quick look online revealed that Voice doesn’t support MMS.

MMS?  Isn’t that what those kids use today?  Why would I ever need that?  That’s probably what many of you are thinking.  I fall into that category, too – about 98% of the time.  I only receive a handful of MMS messages a year.  When I do receive them, though, they tend to be important, and not just for kicks.

My recourse is to not use Voice as my primary number, or to tell people that I have one number for calls and normal text messages, and another for picture texts.  I’m still undecided, primarily because I love Voice’s other features so much.  The risk is that I then need to trust that other users will remember that I have a separate MMS number.  If they forget, they’ll never know that I’m not getting their messages, and I won’t even know they’ve been sending them.

What would you decide?