It's official. Google's native Google Voice application has come to Apple's iPhone, some 16 months after Apple first rejected it and made Google jump through hoops.
On Nov. 16, Google finally saw its native application for Apple's iPhone approved for Apple's App Store
, putting an end to a 16-month rift
between two companies competing fiercely in the mobile phone market.
Google Voice is a phone management application that more than 1.4 million
people use to route calls to their phones, via a special phone number.
The app, which enables free calls in the United
States and cheap international calls, lets
users enjoy automatic voice mail transcription, the ability to listen to live
messages as they are being left on voice mail, and several other tools. Users may also display their Google Voice number as
caller ID when making calls.
Google submitted a version of its app for the iPhone to Apple's App Store
for approval in June 2009. Google's app was never approved
, although Apple said it never actually
rejected the app.
After the Federal Communications Commission formally questioned
Google, Apple and AT&T about the issue, it turned
out that Apple had indeed silenced Google Voice on the iPhone because it
duplicated too many features of the popular device, including the dialer
The standoff shed light on just how deep the rift between Apple and Google
In January, Google launched
a Web version of Google Voice for iPhone based on
HTML5. However, that app lacked certain perks, such as push notifications to
alert users to new voice mails or text messages, and quicker call connections.
This new, native "official Google Voice for iPhone app" has those
features, and it's available for download from the Apple App Store today.
iPhone users need an iPhone with iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice
account to use the app, which is currently available only in the United States.
Apple made the official Google Voice app possible in September when it
relaxed its iPhone developer terms after enough developers complained about the
gauntlet they had to run to get apps approved in the App Store.
Developers of the GV Mobile and GV Connect Google Voice applications for the
iPhone rushed to take advantage of Apple's loosening of the reins, rolling out
their apps that month.
It was believed then that Google's official app would follow shortly after,
but it took almost two months to appear, perhaps a sign of just how touchy the
App Store policies are.