Sneak peek at Google Voice client MetroTalk for Windows Phone 8

For those of us stuck with multiple phone numbers or who like free SMS messaging, Google Voice is a pretty great service (we do wish Microsoft had their own version though). Google of course can’t be bothered with making a Windows Phone client so instead we have to rely on our cadre of great third party app developers.

MetroTalk is one of those apps for Google Voice and we managed to spend some time with the upcoming Windows Phone 8 version. Windows Phone 8 messaging apps will benefit the most from the new APIs offered to developers and consumers will get a much better experience—faster apps, better notifications and many more options.

MetroTalk for Windows Phone 8 does a nice job of taking advantage of these news as it includes the following new features:

  • Three tile sizes
  • Fast resume
  • Multi-size tile support
  • Lock-screen unread counter
  • Text-to-speech
  • Secondary tiles are working now on WP8
  • Added new icon for the Call/Text secondary tile

Fast resume is very useful as it allows you to reengage the Live Tile without having it re-launch the app (as now happens on Windows Phone 7.x). Instead, the app will resume where you last left it, which is ideal if you have an ongoing chat with someone.

The Lock screen notifications are obviously very welcomed. We rely on Google Voice a lot so being able to get a message counter on the Lock screen is extremely helpful. Throw in the other features like text-to-speech, more Tile options and the overall speed enchantments from Windows Phone 8, MetroTalk feels complete now both in features and performance.

Watch our video hands on above to get a preview of those new functions and we’ll let you know when the updated version lands in the Windows Phone Store, probably within the next two weeks.

MetroTalk comes with a free trial and the full version will run you $1.49, which you can find here in the Store. Current users will of course receive the Windows Phone 8 update free of charge.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Google can't be bothered to make any applications for WP.
  • Google is afraid of competition.
  • I know you're not serious, so I'll just chuckle at that statement.  They make plenty of Google apps for iOS.  When/if Windows Phones gets some decent marketshare, trust that there will be some official Google apps.  The first one should be a re-do of the hideous Google search app.
  • It certainly doesn't help WP that they aren't there. It wouldn't kill Google to make a fricking YouTube app. Newly 100% of users would use it whether it was great or crappy as long as it played videos.
  • Why kill google? SuperTube is far better an app then anything Google has made! But its not free...
  • See, this is what a lot of people keep saying, if WP gets larger market share... I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's a slow process when nearly al devs are saying the same thing or waiting to be bribed.
    I won't move over till it gets a larger share, but people in general are reserved in moving over because of the failing of dev work, then devs don't move because enough people aren't on it, then people don't move because the dev's killer apps aren't there, then the dev's don't move because... You get the picture.
    I understand that what used to be basement devs are now fully fledged mini-corps so it's not about getting views anymore, it's a business proposition to make for WP whereas before it was just a What-if exploration for iOS and maybe Android. So to keep repeating that mantra seems like such a slow growing process...
  • I agree, this is a silly statement. Google, although sometimes pathetic, is not led by idiots. Why create an app for a platform that is barely crawling, let alone running? The day it is recognised in the same light as Android or iOS will be the day Google develops a good, first party app. Google really don't care.
  • Don't need an app when the website works just fine.
  • Does it work as good as the google maps website on windows phone
  • Ok, windows 8 desktop has already more users then android but still Google hasn't build apps for it. Except the wrapper for chrome and a horrible search app.
  • I think Google's search app for Windows 8 is great. At least the voice search part is great!
  • I use my Google Voice account daily.  I currently use Go Voice for my L920.  It's great to see a little movement on a WP8 app.
  • I use GoVoice, also on my 920. Does what it needs to do.
  • You could try this after the WP8 version is out, and see what you think. I think you will like it :) There is a free (ad-supported) version, without any limitation compared to the paid version.
  • Daniel,
    you pointed out that it has text to speech for reading back a message, but does it have speech to text when composing so you can dictate a message?
  • Not in this version. Who knows what will happen in a few weeks though.. :)
  • Nice screencaps. Lol. 
  • MS does have their own version, its called Skype and messenger.....DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
  • False. I cannot specify multiple phones that can all call one number, let alone manage those. For instance, i can have some people ring all my phones (landline, 3 different mobiles and office) while some can be sent to voicemail. I could also do it on a time schedule so calls get routed to one phone on the weekend and to my others on the weekdays. In addition, I can also text back and forth (even international) and make real phone calls (not VOIP) all while protecting my real number plus get transcribed visual voicemail and it all costs $0. No, Skype is not the same as Google Voice, sorry. Sounds like you are confusing it with Google Talk.
  • Does WP8 allow for 3rd-parties apps to intergrate with the messenging hub?
    It just something I always wanted since I can keep conversations in one thread(like intergrated-Facebook chat & SMS).
  • As far as I know, no. The only available integration is with the dialer and VoIP.
  • No calls over cell data or wifi yet?
  • Google Voice =! Google Talk. Different services. There is no VOIP component to Google Voice.
  • That's not exactly true.  While there's no direct VoIP service for Google Voice, there is Gmail VoIP integration.  If you have a Google Voice number, you can set it up so that you can place/receive true VoIP calls via your Google Voice number in Gmail.  Also, on iOS/Android there are apps that use this service (Talkatone, GrooVeIP) and allow you to do VoIP calls using your Google Voice number...unfortunately none yet for Windows Phone.
  • What is the name of the tile on the weather?
  • Amazing Weather.
  • Google need to release voice to the rest of the world.
  • MetroTalk's icon/tile is still ugly as hell. But at least the app is coming along nicely.
  • App works great. I've been using since released for free. Much better than GoVoice.
  • I am a huge fan of Google Voice (about the only Google service I use). Would love an official app, but happy to see G stand pat on not making apps for WP. There needs to be compelling reason to use "our" service, whether it be Google Office (or whatever it is called), maps, voice, et al. I feel the same about the iToys and WP. Keep it exclusive. I thought I would get some slick exlusive apps to interact with my 360 two years ago when I got my HD7. Instead all I can do is change my avatar - very weak MS. If WP can't have exlusive apps, then at least give us some "premier" apps, or leave those using robot phones and iToys last years version. What is my reward for suffering with WP7 MS? Rant off, thanks for thoughtful comments.
  • I dont have it in the windows store on the Nokia Lumia 920?!! is it because im in the U.S.A?? do I checked for phone updates and my phone is up to date, whats going on here? btw is this a free app or not? PLEASE HELP/ COMMENT