Verizon Galaxy S8 Trouble setting default SMS messaging app on Samsung Galaxy S8 for use with Google Voice

alf_dart

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(This re-directs from my first post, "Google Voice direct SMS message widget", in forum "Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+", posted on December 24th. My original subject heading was not on point.)

Good day,

I am a longtime Android and Google Voice user. On my last smartphone device (an HTC 10), I used the native calling app for calls (Google Voice integration allowed me to choose whether to use my GV number, or the carrier number for every outgoing call), and the Google Hangouts app for all my Google Voice SMS messages.

Using Hangouts was a good solution for me because it offers a nice set of widgets for direct dialing/messaging. On my old device, I could set it as the default SMS messaging app, and also use widgets for the Google Contacts app, or any other contacts app, to create a direct dial/message icon on my home screen. That widget would automatically be re-directed to Hangouts (the default app) to send the message.

On my new device (Samsung Galaxy S8) however, it appears that either the Samsung S8 build of Android, or the newer version of Android (Oreo) has eliminated support for the Google Hangouts app, so that it can't be set as the default SMS messaging app anymore. It simply does not appear as an option when I go to the select default apps in the system menu anymore. The three messaging apps that DO appear as options are Messages (by Samsung), Messenger (by Facebook), and Message+ (by Verizon). While all of those are perfectly good messaging apps, none of them feature Google Voice integration. Seems like a pay-to-play game in which Samsung, Facebook, and Verizon all ante'd up, and Google got left in the dark. This is why I like vanilla Android builds.

As a short term solution, I've been using the Google Voice app for my Google Voice SMS messaging instead, as well as for my usual GV calling and voicemail, so that I can keep everything related to my GV number in one place. While this solution is functional enough for the short term, the Google Voice app itself doesn't seem to offer as many widgets for direct SMS or direct dial as Hangouts, or the native calling/messaging apps do. Also, I can't set it as the default SMS messaging app either.

What I'd really like is for Samsung's Android Oreo build to re-allow Hangouts and Google Voice to be selected as default SMS messaging apps. Short of that, I just need some kind of workaround so I can create direct dial/message widgets on my home screen. When I tap the icon, a new SMS message opens up in Google Voice to a specific contact. That way, I can create a folder on my Galaxy S8 home screen that's full of direct dial/message shortcuts, which use my Google Voice number instead of the carrier number.

Any third party app recommendations or fixes for this problem would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
alf_dart (Member & contributor since 2012 :D)
 
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SpookDroid

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Well, turns out the 'guilty parties' you accuse in your post, however, are not the culprits, Google is. They removed SMS-support from Hangouts a while ago, so that's a no-go now (which is why you can't set it up as your default texting app). Facebook's messenger also removed this option a while back.

For Google Voice integration, however, you're pretty much left with Hangouts and GV for texting, unfortunately. No other app supports it.


For phone calls, you can stil use the default phone app on your device if you activate that option in the Google Voice app (under the app's Settings, 'Calls started from this device's phone app' option); it'll let you select to use your GV number for all calls, only international ones, to ask you every time, or to never use it.
 

alf_dart

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Thanks for your replies SpookDroid and justnivek. @justnivek I would definitely consider downloading an older version of Hangouts if it'll run well. @SpookDroid I think that Facebook's Messenger has added SMS integration in their latest versions, though obviously only for the carrier number not GV.

I do hope that Google decides to start fully supporting their service again. I'd hate to have to give it up after using it for so long, not to mention the hassle of porting my number.
 

SpookDroid

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Sadly, they won't. Hangouts is being phased out (or 'moved' to a business-like service) and Google Voice, while still not dead, is very slowly being updated (I mean, you still can't send freakin' videos for crying out loud!) and will likely remain its own thing while Google favors Fi for their voice efforts.
 

alf_dart

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Well, thanks for all your help Spookdroid. The truth is, the Google Voice app has become more feature-rich over the course of the last few updates, like when multi-recipient threading was added. I just feel hampered that I have to search through my list of contacts every time I want to send a GV SMS instead of tapping a widget shortcut. It really adds a lot of time to my workflow. Often my most-used contacts will be at the top of my recents list anyway, but not always. I guess I'll have to send a request to the developers to add more widgets in the next release. Yah, and being able to send videos would be good too ;)
 

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