Google Voice lands on iPhone as Web app: Conflict resolved?
Google's revolutionary Internet phone, call management, and messaging service Google Voice has finally been reworked to fit within Apple's strict iPhone guidelines.
Last July, Google Voice was launched as a mobile application for BlackBerry and Android, but the popular iPhone platform was not included in the launch. Apple had apparently rejected Google's proposed app just like it had done weeks prior with Google's social geolocation service, Latitude.
Though Apple denied it had turned down Google's app in the ensuing FCC investigation, it seemed like the brilliant service was going to first have to be crippled to make it onto the iPhone. Like Latitude, Google Voice had to be shoehorned into the browser to be able to run on iPhone, and users of the service were limited in what they could do within Safari.
Today, Google debuted a revamped HTML5 Web interface for the service, which turns the otherwise weak browser-based front into something a lot more like a native application. Users have a new dialer screen and contacts list, and the mailbox displays missed calls, transcribed voicemails, and free SMS messages. The process for placing outbound calls has also been streamlined, so now the user's Google Voice phone number actually shows up on the recipient's caller ID, a feature which didn't exist before.
But to avoid one of the issues that worried Apple in the beginning, some important functionality is still unavailable in the updated version. For example, there is no integration with the iPhone's directory; any phone numbers or e-mail addresses used in Google Voice must be stored in the user's Google account or entered on the fly.
Furthermore, The New York Times today quoted Vincent Paquet, senior product manager for Google Voice as saying, "We haven't heard back from Apple on this," meaning that Apple's argument that Google Voice duplicates some of the iPhone's core functionality could still stand.