Google Voice for the iPhone Returns as Black Swan
Did you ever use Google Voice apps such as GV Mobile or VoiceCentral on the iPhone before the apps were unceremoniously yanked from the App Store by Apple back in July?
Yes, it's been that long since you've been able to use Google Voice on the leading smartphone.
Now Riverturn, the app developer behind VoiceCentral is back with a Web version of Google Voice for the iPhone, beating Google itself to the punch.
Ominously titled the Black Swan edition, the folks at Riverturn noted:
It is not tied to the App Store. It is not a Web site optimized for the iPhone. It is a feature-rich weblication that enables you to view and manage your Google Voice data just like a native iPhone application. It combines the iPhone's easy-to-use interface with the convenience of an always up-to-date web application.
Here are the features for the app, for which users must have an existing Google Voice account and an iPhone or iPod touch running version 3.0 software or higher:
See it in action here:
The catch is that you can't use Black Swan right away. That's right, it's in a "very limited beta." Click here to register and then cross your fingers.
What's so interesting about this strategy? Well, we've seen Apple push Google to create a Web version of the Google Latitide location-based social networking app, and push Google to build Google Voice for the Web, which Riverturn has just done.
By redirecting developers to build Web versions of these apps instead of letting them go native, Apple is actually playing into Google's well-chronicled strategy to make everything a Web app. More Web apps means more mobile advertising for Google.
Moreover, with Google pursuing AdMob (no sure bet right now, with the FTC looming) it would get access to the iPhone App Store data it craves.
Apple's rigid App Store strategy may enable Apple to run a tight ship, but that ship could run aground if developers such as Riverturn continue to build iPhone apps independent of Apple's oversight.
Net-net, things are shaping up nicely for Google.