Google Voice’s New Update Lets Users Manage Anonymous Calls

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For all its faults, Google Voice has gotten to be pretty solid with regard to how it routes calls from different groups of people, and today the search giant has gussied up the service even more. According to the official Google Voice blog, a new update now gives users more control over what to do with people who hide their phone numbers when they call.

But let’s back up a minute here.

If you haven’t used Google Voice before, the service issues you a phone number that acts as sort of a catch-all for all the mobile devices you juggle everyday. Part of how it lets users manage all those phone calls is by allowing them to specify how calls from specific people or members of a group are treated. Google has been tweaking that process recently, most notably with the integration of Google+ Circles back in February, but today’s addition came about purely because their users have been clamoring for it.

Today’s update gives users more control over what to do with anonymous callers — people whose phone numbers are for one reason or another withheld from view. Setting up a new rule to govern these classes of callers takes just a few seconds, and it’s a trivial process to route those calls to a specially-designated phone. Of course, if you’d rather not deal with calls from the nameless, you could always just route them straight to voicemail. The update also lets users create those same rulesets for anyone already stored in your contact list — maybe they deserve a slightly warmer recorded greeting than those folks who won’t disclose who they are.

It’s a nice enough update and I’m sure more than a few people are wringing their hands in anticipation, but really — can we please get some MMS support? Or a way to mark all of our messages read from the web app? It’s not like we Google Voice users haven’t been waiting a few years, after all.