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  1. apoelin's Avatar
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       #1  
    After a long wait, MetroTalk is finally available on the Windows Phone Marketplace. MetroTalk is a new Google Voice client, it's in active development, and has both a paid and a trial version. The two are identical, but the latter is ad-supported.

    I started working on this project with the goal to create an application for myself, with only the subset of features of Google Voice that I use, because I wasn't happy with the existing options in the Marketplace. Eventually and because the whole process was so addicting, this turned out to be a full-featured Google Voice client. I worked on this in my free time and although I have some programming experience, I had never worked before with C#/XAML or mobile platforms.

    Some of the things that make MetroTalk worth trying are the following:
    1. Push Notifications: It's the first GV app to use its own service for push notifications. This has a number of advantages: (a) one less possible point of failure, (b) one less service/developer you need to trust your data with, (c) shorter time for pushing out notifications, since all services run on the same server machine.
    2. Quick Reply: When the user receives a toast notification, it is possible to click on the notification and load the message instantly. This means that a "lighter" version of the app is launched for handling the click, and the message is displayed without needing to communicate with a server. It is also possible to reply within the same page. This allows for a much faster and efficient day-to-day use; I strongly suggest you try this.
    3. User Experience: There is a lot of emphasis on this. There is no lag when navigating the app and scrolling through lists. This is especially noticeable vs competitors, when scrolling through conversations that include hundreds of messages. Another example vs the competition is that there is no wait time for the client to log in, before being allowed to perform an action.
    4. Pin folders/contacts: It is possible to pin both folders and also contacts on the start menu. This makes it much faster to send messages or call people that you frequently communicate with.


    Thanks for your time reading this! I hope you decide to try MetroTalk, and I'd be happy to listen to your feedback, or answer any questions you may have.

    Link to the Marketplace: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/ap...8-d3a8d35b7fc5

    Website: MetroTalk
  2. Zumanity's Avatar
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    #2  
    I just downloaded this application! It's really good so far! I have yet to test out the Push notifications, so we'll see! I'm glad you found the time and have the interest to make something like this! I really appreciate it. I WILL spread the word!
  3. apoelin's Avatar
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       #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Zumanity View Post
    I just downloaded this application! It's really good so far! I have yet to test out the Push notifications, so we'll see! I'm glad you found the time and have the interest to make something like this! I really appreciate it. I WILL spread the word!
    Thanks :) Really appreciate it! Keep an eye out for updates too; my plan is to continuously improve the app, and I have a lot of things on my todo list already!
  4. bikedogrun's Avatar
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    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by apoelin View Post
    Thanks :) Really appreciate it! Keep an eye out for updates too; my plan is to continuously improve the app, and I have a lot of things on my todo list already!
    Been using GoVoice (great so far).

    Could you compare/contrast your new app with them and perhaps any others?

    Thanks;
    /BD
  5. apoelin's Avatar
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       #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by bikedogrun View Post
    Been using GoVoice (great so far).

    Could you compare/contrast your new app with them and perhaps any others?

    Thanks;
    /BD
    I've used both GoVoice and FreeTalk (that's the two main alternatives that I am aware of) before starting working on this. I believe the differences are summarized in my original post, since at least the first 3 (out of 4) major points, are unique to MetroTalk (not sure about #4).

    In general, I wasn't satisfied by the smoothness of the application. There always seemed to be some lag, especially when doing things like opening a conversation with 150 messages. In MetroTalk, the focus is giving control to the user as quick as possible, and transferring to the background as many actions as possible. Also "quick reply" makes a big difference in day-to-day use. I also prefer the UI of MetroTalk, but that doesn't say much considering that I designed it :) Give it a try, I think you'll like it!
  6. petercip's Avatar
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    #6  
    Needs to be able to play over the earpiece, and not the speaker.

    -D2
  7. apoelin's Avatar
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       #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterCip View Post
    Needs to be able to play over the earpiece, and not the speaker.

    -D2
    Yes, I agree. That change is coming up soon. In the meantime, an update is going live by the end of this week (hopefully), with the following changes:

    Version 1.4 (upcoming)
    - Fixed a bug where message sending would fail repeatedly in some cases.
    - Complete overhaul of the settings page.
    - Added option for enabling auto-correct for when typing a new message.
    - Added option for automatically refreshing folders on start.
    - Multiple UI fixes.
  8. b_x20852's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by apoelin View Post
    Yes, I agree. That change is coming up soon. In the meantime, an update is going live by the end of this week (hopefully), with the following changes:

    Version 1.4 (upcoming)
    - Fixed a bug where message sending would fail repeatedly in some cases.
    - Complete overhaul of the settings page.
    - Added option for enabling auto-correct for when typing a new message.
    - Added option for automatically refreshing folders on start.
    - Multiple UI fixes.
    Will the MetroTalk Free version be updated as well? As of now the Marketplace has the Free version 1.3 only.

    If the Free version is not going to update, and i have to install the new trial, should I re-register to make push notification available or is it going to use the Free setup?
  9. apoelin's Avatar
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       #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by b_x20852 View Post
    Will the MetroTalk Free version be updated as well? As of now the Marketplace has the Free version 1.3 only.

    If the Free version is not going to update, and i have to install the new trial, should I re-register to make push notification available or is it going to use the Free setup?
    For some reason, the "full" version got approved by Microsoft 2 days ago, whereas the "free" is still pending. It's strange since I submitted both at the same time. An update is definitely coming but I cannot give an exact date.

    Please note that the "trial" version is the exact same as the "free" one. It seems that in general, it is getting approved faster by MS, so I would actually suggest switching to that. Regarding push notifications, you don't need to change anything in your Google Voice or Gmail settings. You should go though in the app's settings page, and click the button to enable notifications for that particular application.

    Hope this helps!
  10. b_x20852's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by apoelin View Post
    For some reason, the "full" version got approved by Microsoft 2 days ago, whereas the "free" is still pending. It's strange since I submitted both at the same time. An update is definitely coming but I cannot give an exact date.

    Please note that the "trial" version is the exact same as the "free" one. It seems that in general, it is getting approved faster by MS, so I would actually suggest switching to that. Regarding push notifications, you don't need to change anything in your Google Voice or Gmail settings. You should go though in the app's settings page, and click the button to enable notifications for that particular application.

    Hope this helps!
    Yes, thanks for such a prompt answer. I decided to re-install trial as I had some annoying communications problem with Free v1.3, and wanted to get rid of it ASAP.

    Version 1.3 often refused to connect at start or refresh giving a "connection error", especially if Wi-Fi connection was enabled along with cell data connection (really looked like the app was confused which way to connect). Hopefully, 1.4 has it fixed.

    BTW, it still gives an error message "An unknown error has occured" upon unlocking the phone with the open Inbox or settings page. No big deal but...
  11. deadwrong03's Avatar
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    #11  
    app is great one issue is that it needs a live tile for those missed notifications besides that I love it
  12. apoelin's Avatar
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       #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by deadwrong03 View Post
    app is great one issue is that it needs a live tile for those missed notifications besides that I love it
    It's nice to hear that you like it :) I'm not 100% sure what you mean about the live tile though. The main tile is indeed live, with an unread message indicator for missed notifications. There is no counter though, but that will be added in a future update. Secondary tiles (folders, contacts) are not live due to OS limitations afaik.
  13. deadwrong03's Avatar
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by apoelin View Post
    It's nice to hear that you like it :) I'm not 100% sure what you mean about the live tile though. The main tile is indeed live, with an unread message indicator for missed notifications. There is no counter though, but that will be added in a future update. Secondary tiles (folders, contacts) are not live due to OS limitations afaik.
    when I get new txts in metro talk I dont get any kind of indication on the app tile. Also on go voice the numbers are listed as the names in my address book instead of just numbers.


    Do I have to pin the inbox to get notifications on the tile?
  14. Quantify's Avatar
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    #14  
    The thing I don't like about metro talk is that it keeps logging out after a while...then before you can call/ text you have to login. GoVoice does not have this problem.

    Sent from my Lumia 900 using Board Express
  15. apoelin's Avatar
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       #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by deadwrong03 View Post
    when I get new txts in metro talk I dont get any kind of indication on the app tile. Also on go voice the numbers are listed as the names in my address book instead of just numbers.


    Do I have to pin the inbox to get notifications on the tile?
    If you are receiving push notifications successfully, then the app tile pinned on the start menu does show an indicator. Please note that this is only for the main app tile and not for the secondary (folders, contacts) ones; afaik, it's not technically possible to update secondary tiles from a remote server. Currently, unread messages are indicated by an exclamation mark on the tile; with the next major update (estimated to arrive in 2 weeks), this will be changed to a message counter.

    Regarding the names, you are right, MetroTalk currently only reads contacts info from the device. I decided that for the first release, this was acceptable, because there is an easy workaround. If you simply ask your device to also sync contacts from your Google account, then those contacts will also appear in MetroTalk. I do realize that this is not ideal, and it will be also addressed in the next major update.
  16. apoelin's Avatar
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       #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantify View Post
    The thing I don't like about metro talk is that it keeps logging out after a while...then before you can call/ text you have to login. GoVoice does not have this problem.

    Sent from my Lumia 900 using Board Express
    I'm not sure I fully understand. MetroTalk does the log in only once, per session. That means that when you launch the app to check messages, a log in will be performed, and that log in will persist for any other action while the app is active. By active, I also refer to fast-switching back to the app. As soon as you terminate it though (it gets removed from the fast-switch card view, gets tombstoned, or gets re-launched from the start menu), it does have to re-login; this is a limitation of WP7. If you like, I can provide you with more technical details as to why. I assume GoVoice does the same (at least one log in per session), as there is no way around this.

    Am I missing something here? What makes you believe, that there are multiple log-ins taking place?
  17. mtmjr90's Avatar
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    #17  
    Just curious...would there be any chance of integrating Google Talk, FB chat, etc into the app? I have my GV texts forwarded via SMS simply because I like how the native messages client integrates chat into threads (granted only MSN & FB). I would love a truly integrated experience, with Google talk in particular. Thanks!
    Current: Lumia 1020 (unlocked, international), Dell Venue Pro 8, Acer Aspire S7 (2013)
    Past: Samsung Focus, HTC Radar, Lumia 710, Lumia 920, HTC 8X, Lumia 521, Lumia 925, Surface RT
    Current non-WP: Nexus 5
  18. Quantify's Avatar
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    #18  
    My apologies apoelin, I did not realize you're the developer. Thank you very much for building this application, and supporting it. I am a paying customer btw.

    To my rather abrupt comment...govoice does not require a manual login after being kicked out of memory. Now i am wondering if it is freetalk that required the manual login not metrotalk...if so I apologize.

    Sent from my Lumia 900 using Board Express
  19. apoelin's Avatar
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       #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by mtmjr90 View Post
    Just curious...would there be any chance of integrating Google Talk, FB chat, etc into the app? I have my GV texts forwarded via SMS simply because I like how the native messages client integrates chat into threads (granted only MSN & FB). I would love a truly integrated experience, with Google talk in particular. Thanks!
    Google Talk is a real possibility, and the name of the app was actually chosen to accommodate that as well :) I am hoping that by the end of the month, the Google Voice functionality will reach a level that I'm satisfied with, so I can then start looking at GTalk. I will have an update about this soon, but a client may not appear for a while. Beyond GTalk it will be tricky to implement additional services and probably unlikely. I'm hoping that WP8 will allow integration into the messaging hub, in order to make everything unified; I'll be keeping a close eye about this to the dev conference that will take place in June.
  20. apoelin's Avatar
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       #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantify View Post
    My apologies apoelin, I did not realize you're the developer. Thank you very much for building this application, and supporting it. I am a paying customer btw.

    To my rather abrupt comment...govoice does not require a manual login after being kicked out of memory. Now i am wondering if it is freetalk that required the manual login not metrotalk...if so I apologize.

    Sent from my Lumia 900 using Board Express
    No reason to apologize, and thanks for trying my app :) MetroTalk shouldn't present you a login screen ever, besides the first time you install and launch the app. Logging in again after the app is kicked from fast switch is unavoidable, but this should happen completely transparently in the background. If this doesn't seem to be the case for you, I would be very interested to know.
  21. zekerrific's Avatar
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    #21  
    I just installed this app and so far I like it a lot. I'll keep the trial version on for a few days to make sure it continues to work well. If so, I will happily buy the app.

    So far, I have found it to have a cleaner interface than GoVoice. I am hoping it will also store my password better than GoVoice, which asks me to re-login about once a week.

    Thank you for developing this app!
  22. jalb's Avatar
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    #22  
    I would like to try it, but I am having a hard time setting up the push notifications. I get to the part about creating a filter, and the custom email address for forwarding never appears in the drop down box.
  23. apoelin's Avatar
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       #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by jalb View Post
    I would like to try it, but I am having a hard time setting up the push notifications. I get to the part about creating a filter, and the custom email address for forwarding never appears in the drop down box.
    Thank for trying the app :)

    Can you please send an email at support@metrotalk-windowsphone.com, with your Google Voice email address and your forwarding address? Also, in case you are using MetroTalk Free, I suggest switching to the trial version of MetroTalk. The two are identical, but the former is stuck at 1.3 (pending approval), whereas the latter is at 1.4.
  24. apoelin's Avatar
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       #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by zekerrific View Post
    I just installed this app and so far I like it a lot. I'll keep the trial version on for a few days to make sure it continues to work well. If so, I will happily buy the app.

    So far, I have found it to have a cleaner interface than GoVoice. I am hoping it will also store my password better than GoVoice, which asks me to re-login about once a week.

    Thank you for developing this app!
    I would be shocked if you run into that kind of problem :) Thanks for trying the app, and feel free to email me if you have any problems or feedback.
  25. Quantify's Avatar
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    #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by apoelin View Post
    No reason to apologize, and thanks for trying my app :) MetroTalk shouldn't present you a login screen ever, besides the first time you install and launch the app. Logging in again after the app is kicked from fast switch is unavoidable, but this should happen completely transparently in the background. If this doesn't seem to be the case for you, I would be very interested to know.
    In fact, it was freetalk that required the manual login after being kicked from fast switch. I do have one feature request though...would you consider adding the ability to use google's shadow numbers, instead of the general access number? I've been collecting these shadow numbers and adding them to my contacts, so I can dial people directly without having to use a google voice app.

    Thanks again for a great app, and your patience...
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