As an iOS user, I understand quite acutely how people can tell if I’m using my real phone number or my Google Voice number. The difference comes into play most obviously when I’m texting friends or co-workers. Currently I have 3 different phone numbers that I use at any given moment. 2 of them will provide the blue bubbles since my personal and work phones are both iPhone 7’s. However, I do use my Google Voice number quite a bit as well. When I was with my former employer, I tried going to one phone but I realized that I didn’t want people at work calling me at all hours of the night using my personal number. If I don’t recognize the number I generally don’t answer it on my personal phone and let them leave a message. As a work around I started to give out my Google Voice number which I use with Google Hangouts. That meant that sometimes I was the dreaded green bubble when texting people that had iPhones which turned out to be quite a few co-workers.
For most things, I still try and not give out my real cell number, I don’t like getting robo calls or spam calls on it (even though I still get spam and robo calls on it). I like to give out my Google Voice number. The Hangouts app doesn’t make management of phone numbers that I can block easy, I need to manage it using the website but its a good alternative to giving out my real number. The Hangouts app lets me send text messages and make phone calls as long as I have a data connection so that masks the number that I’m calling from. It’s not as good as a burner number but I can at least see when someone is calling me on my Google Voice number.
Where I think people start getting confused is if I’ve used a blue bubble and a green bubble when texting them. There are a few people that I’ve done that to but then I get confused when they respond to me and I have to react to it. Where it gets really complicated is if I start using other messaging apps with people and then I have to start answering them on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, or some other messenger that I have installed or have used in the past with that person. One of the things that I’ve found amusing are some articles and YouTube videos on how people have said “I don’t want to message you because you don’t have a blue bubble” or some study they did at a company where most people chose an iPhone because they didn’t want to be the “green bubble” when texting co-workers. I’ll admit that its nice to see the blue bubble when texting but its not a deal breaker for me. As long as I can communicate, thats enough for me.
There is an added benefit I think of using my Google Voice number, I can use any web browser, log into Hangouts, and send text messages to people. Technically you can do the same thing on WhatsApp but my current job doesn’t allow that so instead of reaching for my phone, I just use my computer sometimes. What would be cool is if Apple let you use iMessage with just an iCloud account and be able to send messages through the web and sync it all up on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac (whatever flavor you have). I doubt they will do that since it won’t lock you into the ecosystem of buying all of their devices but I think it would make communication that much easier for those of us that have to use a PC for work and don’t have a choice in using a Mac. I personally have been trying to find a way to use a Mac for work and I think I almost have found a way to do it but the thing about email is what is preventing me from pulling the trigger.
So there you have it, some days I’ll be the blue bubble, and other days I’ll be the green one. It just depends on who you are and if I want you in my inner circle of knowing what my real phone number is.i