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Using Google Voice and the New Google Talk for the Galaxy Tab 2

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Eric Butow shows you how to become familiar with one updated and one new communication app in Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the Galaxy Tab 2: Google Talk, which now includes functionality from Google Hangouts, and Google Voice for sending and receiving calls and messages.
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Though Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on the Galaxy Tab 2 includes Google Talk preinstalled, Google has already developed more-advanced communication tools: the Google Voice app for calling and receiving voice messages, and the upgraded Google Talk app that incorporates the functionality of Google Hangouts.

Google Voice

Google Voice is an app that not only stores your voicemail messages on your desired cell phone number so you can listen to your messages on your Tab 2 but also allows you to read a transcript of the message within the Voice app. What's more, if your Tab also has cell phone service from a carrier such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile, you can make calls and send text messages.

Note that Google Voice is only available in the United States and you need an existing cell phone number. Google Voice also doesn't offer all its features for all carriers, and I'll discuss that caveat later in this article.

To get started, first you need to enable your Google account for Google Voice. Open the Browser app on your Tab 2 and open the Google Voice website at http://www.google.com/voice. In the Getting Started window that appears, tap the I Accept Google Voice's Terms and Privacy Policy check box. Next, tap the Proceed button.

The Set Up Your Google Voice Number window appears and asks you to choose a brand new number from Google Voice or use your existing mobile number (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 If you want a new number, tap the I Want a New Number button

For this example, I'll tap the I Want to Use My Mobile Number button. In the Step 1: Check Number Eligibility window, type the mobile number in the Mobile Number box and then tap the Check for Available Options button.

In this example, my mobile number can't be ported to the full version of Google Voice because it doesn't support my carrier, AT&T. If this happens to you, you can obtain the "lite" version of Google Voice by tapping the Get Google Voicemail for Your Existing Mobile Number button; the lite version includes online voicemail and voicemail transcriptions. You can also decide not to get Google Voicemail by tapping the Porting Your Mobile Number to Google Voice is Unavailable button.

I'll get the lite version by tapping the Get Google Voice Lite link. In the Step 2: Verify Your Phone window, the app displays a verification code and asks you to tap the Call Me Now button so Google Voice can call and verify your phone number. When Google Voice calls you, you'll hear a voice that asks you to type the verification code on your phone. After Google Voice verifies your phone number, you'll hear a recorded message on your phone that invites you to record a voice message or hang up to record a message later.

Within the Step 3: Create a New PIN window on your Tab 2, type a new four-digit number in the Enter PIN box so you can access your voicemail account within the Google Voice app on your phone. Type the same number in the Confirm PIN box. Next, tap the I Accept Google Voice's Terms and Privacy Policy checkbox. Finally, tap the Continue button.

In the Step 4: Setup Your Phone for Voicemail window, you'll see your phone's cellular carrier name and you'll be asked to call a number on your phone exactly as it appears in the window. After you tap the Send or Call button on your phone to dial the number, you'll see a confirmation message on your phone screen. On my iPhone that I'm using in this example, I'll tap the Dismiss button to close the confirmation message screen.

On the Tab 2, tap the Continue button in the window to view the Congratulations window that provides your voicemail access phone number that will be emailed to you. All your voicemail messages will go to Google voicemail from now on. Close the window and view the Google Voice screen by tapping the Finish button.

Now you need to install the Google Voice App. Open the Google Play Store app and search for Google Voice. When you see the app screen shown in Figure 2, Search, download by tapping Install in the app description screen.

Figure 2 Swipe up and down in the screen to learn more about the Google Voice app

Tap Accept in the App permissions window. After the Play Store installs the Google Voice app, tap Open in the app description screen. Google Voice opens and shows the welcome screen that tells you what Google Voice does, including making calls and sending free text messages. Continue by tapping the Next button.

In the next screen, select the Google account you want to use with Google Voice. Add an account to the list by tapping the Add Account button. If you only have one account, the button to the right of the account name (such as your Gmail address) is selected by default. Tap the Sign In button.

You'll see the Set Up Google Voice screen that tells you that you can now access your Google Voice inbox on your Tab 2. Tap the Next button. The Inbox Synchronization window appears as the Voice app synchronizes the app with the Google Voice service. Open the Inbox screen by tapping the Finish button. In the screen, the welcome message appears below the black menu bar, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 The list of voicemail messages is listed from newest at the top to oldest at the bottom

The list of messages is ordered from newest to oldest, and the newest message appears at the top of the screen. Each message appears within a box in the list and contains the title of the message, the time Google Voice received the message, and the start of the text within the message, so you have a good idea of what it's about. If you want to add the message to your Favorites list, tap the star icon to the right of the message.

Open the message by tapping the message box in the list. The Voicemail screen appears as shown in Figure 4. At the top of the screen, you'll see the message information area that includes the photo of the caller (if any), name of the caller, phone number from which the person called you, the date and time the call was received, and the length of the voice message.

Figure 4 The Voicemail screen shows the text at the top of the screen and the black Play Message bar at the bottom of the screen

The text of the message appears underneath the message information area. At the left side of the Play Message bar at the bottom of the screen, tap the Play icon to begin playing the voicemail message. You'll hear the person who left the message recite the message as it appears on the screen. You can return to the Inbox screen by tapping the Google Voice icon at the left side of the menu bar.

The New Google Talk

Though Google Talk is preinstalled on your Tab 2, you'll notice that the look and feel of the app has changed in Jelly Bean. The Talk functionality has been replaced by the new functionality in Google Hangouts.

Open the Google Talk app by tapping the Talk app icon within the Apps screen. Your account appears at the top of the Accounts screen as shown in Figure 5. At the right side of the black menu bar that appears at the top of the page, you can add an account by tapping Add Account. You can also change your settings or get help by tapping the menu icon.

Figure 5 The menu icon appears at the far right of the black menu bar

Tap the account name in the account list. Your account screen appears that contains your account information in the green box and a list of friends with whom you can hold a conversation appears below the box (see Figure 6).

Figure 6 Friends who are offline appear in gray bars to indicate that the person is currently not logged in to their Google account

Tap your Google account in the green box to change your status. Within the Status page shown in Figure 7, you can change the following status features:

  • Available: Tap the green Available box to open a drop-down menu so you can tell other friends on Google who are online about your availability to chat. The default is Available, but you can also say that you're Busy or you're Invisible, which means your name doesn't show up on any of your friends' list of users on Google+ or in Google Hangouts. You can also sign out of your Google account. If you change your availability status, the box reflects your new status and associated status color, such as red for Busy.
  • Tap the white status box to type a new status that your Google friends will see in their friends list, which is "Hello, world!" in this example.
  • If you would rather not type your status, but use a status you've used in the past instead, tap the gray Change To a Recently-Used Status box. A drop-down menu appears so you can scroll down the list (if necessary) and tap the status you want to use. That status will appear in the white status box. You can also clear your prior status list by tapping Clear History in the menu.

Figure 7 The Availability box appears to the right of your Google account photo

You can return to the list of friend accounts by tapping the Talk icon at the left side of the menu bar. In the friend accounts page shown in Figure 6, tap a name to start a conversation. If the friend isn't online, you can leave a message that your friend will see the next time he's logged in to his Google account. The Chat screen appears as shown in Figure 8, so you can begin typing your message.

Figure 8 The name of the friend with whom you're having a conversation (or leaving a message) appears in the black menu bar at the top of the screen

Tap the Type message box to open the keyboard and type your message. When you finish composing the message, tap the Send button on the keyboard. Your message will appear at the top of the screen just under the menu bar. If your friend is online, you will see a response underneath your message.

After you return to the list of friend accounts by tapping the Talk icon in the menu bar, you'll notice that the friend in the list with whom you conversed or left a message appears at the top of the friends list, and the friend's box is white. The white box color indicates you had a conversation with the friend, and the position of the friend in the list means that's the friend with whom you had your most recent conversation.

You can also invite someone to chat with you by tapping the Add Friend icon at the right side of the menu bar, which looks like a smiling face, and a plus sign next to it.

In the Chat invitation window, you can type the email address for the person you want to invite in the Type Email Address box. If that person is in your Contacts app database, you can select the person from the pop-up box that appears above the Type Email Address box. Send the invitation to the user's email address by tapping Done in the menu bar. If the recipient accepts your invitation, the person's name will appear in your friends list.

Now that you know how to get around Google Voice and the upgraded Google Talk, enjoy exploring both apps and chatting with your friends on your Galaxy Tab 2.

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