This post will show you how to configure GVMax on a Blackberry (OS 5).  Why would you want to do this?  GVMax turns incoming texts sent to a Google Voice number into an Google Talk IM so you can send and receive texts (for free) using the Google Talk application on a Blackberry.  So far this is the easiest way I have found send and receive texts using Google Voice on my Blackberry.  As soon as I got my Google Voice invite I cancelled my text plan with my cellular provider and began using Google’s Blackberry Google Voice Client for all texting.  The client is handy but has some serious limitations.  The biggest problem is that the application can only be configured to check for texts every 5 minutes; this means there is a big delay before a text comes in. It also means that if you are in a conversation you can’t used the threaded view to see a recent response without forcing the application to refresh.  Because of this I had Google Voice setup to send my phone a text and when one came in I would then go force the Google Voice application to refresh so I could see the text and respond.  This got annoying quickly so I kept my eyes open for a better way.

Enter GVMax.  GVMax is a “free webservice that monitors your Google Voice account and notifies you when you receive new SMS”.  The feature I’m making use of is it’s ability to take a text from Google Voice and turn it into a Google Talk IM.  It does this by configuring Google Voice to send an email to your Gmail account when a new text comes in, it then uses a Gmail rule that archives this message (so you don’t get a new alert) and forwards it to a unique GVmax email address.  GVMax then sends you a Google Talk IM with the body of the text.  You can simply reply to the IM in your client and it will send a text using Google Voice to the original sender.  About the only limitations are a small delay on receiving texts (a couple seconds) and nothing to tell you when you are over the 160 character limit.

So, how do you set it up?  Follow along; I’ll show you!

What do I need?

A Blackberry, a Google Voice account, and an instant Messaging application on your phone that supports Google Talk; I use RIMs application. (Refer to these links if you are looking for help setting GVMax up on an iPhone or on Android.)

Step 1: Setting up GVMax couldn’t be easier.  Simply browse to and sign in with the account associated with your Google Voice account.  This will configure all of the rules necessary in Google Voice and Gmail automatically.  Next, simply make sure your Google Talk client is signed in and you are ready to receive texts.  I recommend that you configure your chat application to sign you in automatically as shown to the right.

Technically you are ready to go at this point, however, if you have other notifications turned on you (and you likely do!) you will want to continue on to step 2.

Step 2: For a month or two I did’t make any more changes other than what is listed above.  However, because I had other notifications turned on, I would get 4 notifications for every text message I received which started to get annoying after awhile.

  1. First, I would get the text that I had forwarded too my phone; just seconds before the IM came through.
  2. Second, I would get the email notification of a text that was filtered out of the Gmail inbox by a rule (the rule didn’t apply on my phone.)
  3. Third, I got the Google Talk IM notification (that I actually wanted to see)
  4. And fourth, I got the native Google Voice application notification; usually 5 minutes later when it finally refreshed and saw the new text message.

Follow along to learn how to disable the three “extra” notifications to make texting using GVMax much easier.

Disabling Text Message Notifications from Google Voice

Once you have the service setup you should no longer need to be notified of texts to your mobile phone as long as your Google Talk IM client is signed in.  When you first setup Google Voice you likely set it up to send texts to your mobile phone.  To turn that off, simply sign into Google Voice, choose Settings – Voice Settings and click Edit under the phone you wish to stop receiving texts with.  Then, simply uncheck the box next to “Receive text messages on this phone” and this step is complete.

Disabling the SMS Emails from showing up on your Blackberry

I’m not sure if everyone will have this problem, but for me each text message that was sent to my Gmail account from Google Voice still showed up in my Blackberry Inbox each time I got a text.  It doesn’t show up in the Gmail when viewed in your computers web browse because of the rule that GVMax adds to resolve that.  The fix is to simply add that same rule to your Blackberry.  I’m not sure if many of you are aware of this, but you can add Gmail filters on your Blackberry so certain messages are (or are not) delivered to the device.

  1. First, find Email Settings on your Blackberry.  Mine was in the Setup folder.
  2. Sign into your BIS or BES account.
  3. Select your Gmail account and from the menu that appears click Filters.
  4. Name the filter (I named it GVMax), change the Filter On type to From Address and enter and to the filter; clicking Add after each one.  Make sure Do not forward messages to the device is selected.  The finished filter should look like this.  Save it and close email settings.

Disabling Notifications from the Blackberry Google Voice application

This step is really optional, but if you prefer not to get any delayed notifications from the Blackberry Google Voice application (assuming you have it installed) you can simply sign out (Blackberry Button – Exit) of the application.  This way if you want to use it you can always sign in again.  This will remove the menu shortcuts to Call Using Google Voice from the Address Book but it’s the only way to disable the new message notifications from appearing at the top of the screen.  Of course you can always disable any audio or visual notifications in your profile (Normal/Loud/Vibrate etc.) and just ignore the icons if you prefer.  The later may be the better option, at least for awhile, as it will still be easiest to start your text messages from the SMS Using Google Voice option in your address book. But, once most of your friends have a GVMax email address added (see the next paragraph) you can text them directly from Google Talk without even using the Google Voice application.

More about GVMax

Note: Each time you get a text from a new phone number you will have a new Contact Request in Google Talk that will look like this:  You’ll want to add these new contacts to the corresponding contact in your Blackberry address book.  This is very easy to do because the application prompts you and allows you to select an existing contact in just a couple steps.  This only happens the first time the contact texts you.

As I noted earlier you can start texts using the Google Voice application or the GVMax email address on their contact you can just open Google Talk and text them by starting an IM with them.  (Those contacts will always show up as being available.)

Well, that’s about it.  I hope someone finds this helpful and if I missed anything, let me know in the comments!  I couldn’t find any Blackberry specific instructions for setting up GVMax and that’s what prompted me to write this post so I hope it helps someone.


I have to give credit to my brother for introducing me to GVMax.