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APK Teardown: Google Voice 0.4.2.80 - Something Wants To Read Google Voice’s Settings

Google Voice updated today, for the first time in a million years. While the changelog is, as usual, of no help whatsoever, a teardown teases out an eyebrow-raising tidbit: Google Voice’s configuration settings can now be read by other apps. 

The GV update comes packing a new service for handing out this info, called “GoogleVoiceConfiguration,” and a new permission, "com.google.android.apps.googlevoice.permission.FETCH_CONFIGURATION." 

There’s an explanation of the permission in the strings file:

   <string name="google_voice_fetch_configuration_permission_label">Read Google Voice configuration</string>
    <string name="google_voice_fetch_configuration_permission_description">Allows applications to read the configuration of Google Voice, including your Google Voice phone number.</string>

That's about it for the cold, hard facts. So it's speculation time. Why would the Google Voice Android app need to pass its configuration around? This would probably be for importing GV settings into some other app. But what other app? I don't want to spread rumors or anything, but boy, that is interesting.

It’s also strange that they did this on the Android client, and not the usual route, which I’d imagine would be just sharing data about your account on Google’s servers. This means they want not only the GV account data, but phone specific stuff too, like ringtone, sync, and notification settings. I think it all points to another app taking over Google Voice’s duties.

BUT WHAT COULD THAT APP BE?

Google is either baking in special support for its own app, or they're going to start supporting a 3rd party Google Voice ecosystem about a million years too late.

I made it through this whole post without saying the "B" word. =P
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32 comments
 
Rumors of Google Voice's demise are greatly exaggerated...I hope.
 
I've been in hopes that the complete neglect of Google Voice is due to them having it in freeze mode for something coming up. I hope it's not just overly optimistic.
 
Very interesting stuff. I am getting very excited for either 3rd party support or the "B" word we aren't saying.
 
I hope babel supports Google voice. Otherwise it wouldn't be a fully unified messenger program like people are speculating. 
 
I am more bent towards primary dialer app reading configuration from this app to place calls over data than "B" app.

+Ron Amadeo thoughts ?
 
+Ray Wells YOU TYPED THE NAME OF THE SERVICE WHICH SHOULD NOT BE NAMED. We're DOOMED.
 
+Rajesh Handa What would the primary dialer need? It can already make GV phone calls directly, and Voicemail is already integrated.
 
+Ron Amadeo here's a fix for you: the Voice # should not have a dialer passthrough. My Voice# is in the USA and i'm in Canada, and yet it doesn't ask if I want to connect to my Voice # through the Google Voice system.
 
I wonder how deeply "B" will be integrated into Key Lime Pie. I mean, will it be included in the stock messaging app? Will Google Voice (or "B") be included in the dialer, so you can make a Voice call direct from there? I'd love it if Hangouts were in the dialer too, like Facetime is in iOS.

Boy I can't wait for I/O. One. Whole. Month. 
 
It's about bloody time for Voice to get some love.
 
+Ron Amadeo you are right but voicemail is an open api and carriers can consume them and hook their own service.

Dialer can only make gv calls if you have GV installed but might be they are opening it up to 3rd party voip service natively in the dialer like vonage etc like wP does.

I think they will keep voip open and not closed source and be target for another antitrust. And reports coming out of delayed gvoice might be for the same reason of closed sourcing voip standard app bundled with OS

Speculations. Speculations.


 
I think "B" would be a platform rather than just an app bundled with OS with open hooks for xmpp and voip standards for 3rd party integration into native app. 
 
Babel definition = Noun
A noise, typically that made by a number of voices.

"Number of voices" :-)

 
+Rajesh Handa That's "babble". Babel is more relating the the story of the Tower of Babel.
 
+Ron Amadeo I'm telling you man these are signs!!! With what i discovered earlier today and this I think they may be ready to release the legendary..."B"
 
Don't you guys think its funny that when you type in google babel google translate pops up
 
I saw something the other day that was interesting.  I didn't take a screen shot so take this for what it's worth. 

On Thursday night I got a GV text message while I was on G+ and I was logged into chat.  The text popped up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, just like a GTalk message would.  After I thought about it for a while and realized what it could mean I sent myself a test message and it didn't pop up.

I do have the GV extension running the Chrome browser as well, just to throw another variable in the mix.
 
Yeah, I kicked myself a little bit afterwards - I just wasn't thinking.  

If I remember right it had an orange title bar.  Other than that it looked like any other chat notification.
 
+Pete Moisan Are you sure it was a gchat-esque window and not just the chrome desktop notification for the GV extension? They just added the desktop notifications recently, and it's not been consistent for me (might explain it not showing up when you tested it.)
 
+Pete Moisan That's part of the GV extension. There's actually an setting for it in the options: "Desktop Notifications - Display a desktop notification if a new message comes in."
 
Thanks Bradley and Steve, I'm glad I mentioned that I have the GV extension running as that could be the answer.  All aspects of GV have been stagnant for so long that I didn't even check to see if that was an option.  I'll dig into it now...
 
The option was already checked, so I cleared the data and re-started Chrome but I can't get the box to come back.  In fact, even the ding is not working anymore on the extension.  Strange.

It was probably the extension, but it's fun to think that all these changes are going to make sense soon, isn't it?
 
i just realized +Ron Amadeo GOOGLE GLASS is just out maybe they updated the app s that google glass can read it..
 
+Ron Amadeo I hope once you tear down Hangouts it shows something that will make this make sense.
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