Controlling a terminal with Google Voice


For how awesome Google Voice is, we’re surprised we haven’t seen this before. [Steve] is using Google Voice to run commands on just about any Linux box.

Google Voice doesn’t have an official API, and existing unofficial APIs weren’t up to snuff for [Steve]‘s project. He ended up writing his own that checks his unread message inbox every minute and looks for new text messages beginning with the phrase, ‘Cmd’. If a series of checks pass – the text coming from a known phone number and a proper terminal command – the command runs and sends the a text back indicating success or failure.

While [Steve] probably won’t be playing nethack or Zork via SMS anytime soon, we can see this being very useful for a Raspi home automation task. Just send a text message and a properly configured Linux box can open your garage door, turn on the lights, or even start a webcam.


  1. ChalkBored says:

    Thanks for giving the headline a title that describes the concept and not the device it happens to run on.

  2. Mike Seese says:

    hm i was doing this kind of stuff 3-4 years ago..i guess i should have posted it on the internet haha. i wasn’t using google voice, but i was using text to control my windows computer

  3. Mental2k says:

    Nice handy project, you’ll need unlimited messages to get real good use out of it though. Lol.

    Had an idea for a project a couple of years ago to use an old nokia phone to recieve the text messages and then pass the commands via a Lufa keyboard or something. Raspberry pi would be a nice little addition to this, and would remove the reliance on the google api.

  4. sp00nix says:

    Show off skills and poor taste in music in one shot.

  5. Nunya Bidness says:

    Why not just send a text to an email address that is hosted on the Raspberry Pi?

    It’s simple to do, just forward the port and install the mail server program.
    That way, google doesn’t get to keep track of what you are doing to your server.

  6. Franklin Templeton says:

    I couldn’t help but think of Maddox on this one. SSH.

    Not meant to be a rant or mean. The goods are at the bottom. Just have a haha and look back at 2007 :)

    • Nunya Bidness says:

      That phone actually looks pretty awesome.

      Probably qualifies for the $10.00/mo non-smartphone unlimited data plan from att.

      May have to upgrade from my A707 flip phone in the near future.

      • Franklin Templeton says:

        I was having the same thought when I was looking back over stuff (it does have the Maddox seal of approval lol). I will definitely have to look into this non-smartphone data plan you mentioned, as I had never heard of it. Thanks :)

        • Nunya Bidness says:

          Look at the chart. The ‘Standard Phones’ sections if what you want.

          If you don’t have Messaging Unlimited, the cost goes up to $15.00/mo. Still unlimited.

          • Franklin Templeton says:

            Nice! Thanks, chief :) This could definitely breathe some life back into some burners I have. I just wish it was around back in the bluetooth my razr to palm days of wap yore :) Thanks again and glad we both got something useful outta the deal :)

  7. A friend of mine and I modified an AIM client, bsflite, to do this a long time ago, since AIM can send and receive texts.

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