If you’ve ever tried to receive a picture message with your Google Voice number, you might’ve noticed something rather crucial: it… probably didn’t work. For the most part, MMS heading into the service would just vanish into the ether.
According to a Plus post by Googler Alex Wiesen, Google Voice MMS should work now on “AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Canada, and many more” North American carriers.
Notice the omission? While the full list of now-supported carriers hasn’t been published yet, it seemed odd that Verizon wasn’t name checked. Sure enough, it looks like they’re the only major U.S. carrier that hasn’t hopped on board. Without naming names, Wiesen asks anyone who works at an unsupported carrier to reach out for the sake of “text messaging interoperability.”
While Google Voice MMS support has popped up from time to time on select carriers, it’s always been a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes you could send an MMS to someone, but not receive an MMS from the same person — or vice versa. Sometimes it’d work one day, but not the next. With today’s (albeit quiet) announcement, it’ll hopefully be a lot more reliable moving forward.
It still seems to be a bit wonky in our testing (some people get the pictures as links; others as photo attachments; some still not at all), but it’s a nice step in the right direction after a pretty long stretch of silence from the Google Voice team.
One catch: because of all the behind-the-curtain trickery Google is doing to pull this off, group MMS doesn’t work quite like you’d expect. You’ll still receive them, but as a bunch of individual messages. Which kind of defeats the point.