Apple's App Store finally approves Google Voice
More than a year after Google first submitted its free Google Voice application for approval to archrival Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store, the solution finally is available for download to iPhone users. Limited for now to U.S. consumers with valid Google Voice accounts and smartphones running iOS 3.1 or later, the native Google Voice for iPhone app promises cheap rates for international calls, free text messaging to U.S. numbers and voicemail transcription--the solution also includes push notifications to alert users of new voicemail or text messages. "Most of your calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls," Google Mobile software engineer Christian Brunschen adds on the Official Google Mobile Blog.
In August 2009, Apple found itself the target of a Federal Communications Commission inquiry after rejecting Google Voice and removing a pair of third-party Google Voice applications from the App Store. Later in the month, Apple told the FCC it had not officially rejected Google Voice and "continues to study it." According to Apple, Google Voice and the related third-party apps were rejected or not included in the App Store because they interfere with the iPhone's "distinctive user experience"--Apple contended that Google Voice "appears to [replace] the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail." Added Apple, "Google is of course free to provide Google Voice on the iPhone as a web application through Apple's Safari browser, just as they do for desktop PCs, or to provide its ‘Google-branded' user experience on other phones, including Android-based phones, and let consumers make their choices."
With the native Google Voice for iPhone app in limbo, Google released the solution as a browser-based web application in early 2010, effectively circumventing Apple's review process.
- read this Official Google Mobile Blog entry