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I have tried using the google voice app only to find that it doesn't support group SMS, and instead sends an individual text message to each person (which doesn't allow them to reply-all to the group I originally messages).

I have also tried using hangouts, only to discover that it does NOT use the google voice number.

Is there any way to combine these two features? can I do it from a web-browser interface somehow?

P.S. I would like to avoid signing up for Google+ if I can avoid it.

5

Google Voice (the service) doesn't support this. Until Google adds this feature there's no way to do it.

This limitation is not specifically noted anywhere official, to my knowledge. However, Voice receives group messages from supported carriers the same way it sends them - as independent messages - and this has been officially stated. Mayur Kamat (the Hangouts product manager) noted this caveat on a Google+ announcement regarding expanded MMS support for Voice:

Group MMS will arrive as individual messages - so you will at least not miss messages any more.

The above also requires that the message was sent by one of the carriers Google supports MMS from. Group messages received from unsupported carriers are never delivered.

  • 1
    The big unsupported one currently is Verizon, for those interested. – Stephen Schrauger Oct 9 '14 at 18:21
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    Verizon is now supported, btw. – Chris Morris Jan 4 '15 at 22:07
  • Is AT&T supported? Two of my friends have AT&T and I am on T-Mobile when they do group messages, I receive them separate in their own threads but it works with Sprint and T-Mobile. – kalehv Jan 21 '15 at 17:35
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Actually you can use GV send a copy of the sms to your email. Once you have received GV's assigned email for this number you can now respond through your email and now you can respond through multiple user's or groups through the email to SMS system setup in GV. Only caveat is that you have to get a response from your intended subject after you have setup SMS to email in GV to create this GV specific email to SMS email address. I have not found a way to create these GV specific email address. Hope this helps because I wanted to do the same and found this was the only fashion to get GV to do what I wanted.

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I am unsure if the base Google Hangouts app supports this, but try Hangouts Dialer. I have both installed, so it's hard for me to tell if the base app incorporated the feature.

Setup

Inside the settings of the app, you will see an entry for "SMS". You should also have an entry that lists your Google account email address. If you don't have this portion, you can tap "add account" to make the association. Once this is done, the Google Voice number should automatically become available.

Test

Create a new message and select your contact. The app should prompt for "SMS message" and list entries for Mobile (which is your mobile phone number) and Google (which is your Google Voice number).

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Voice allows you to send up to 5 recepients at once if you separate the numbers by commas. Replies to the text are 1 on 1 and not to the group.

https://support.google.com/voice/answer/117108

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