No App for That? Google Voice Brings a Browser for That to iPhone
While Apple may tout there’s an app for that, the contradictory Cupertino company has thus far denied a Google Voice app from making its way onto the iPhone ecosystem, which is now at over 100,000 apps. Google isn’t taking the situation lightly and instead wants to be the eyesore for Apple. First, the company has introduced the Android smartphone OS and a Nexus One company-branded phone that beautifully supports Google Voice integration. Now, Google is making its way onto the iPhone, whether Apple likes it or not, with a mobile HTML5-compatible site of Google Voice in a compact web app rather than an official, native app.
Like a native app, you can dial a number or call a contact from the HTML5 mobile site. After you dial, Google Voice will route your call to a local Google number via your iPhone’s voice connection–your iPhone will show that you’re connected to some random Google number–and then the Google number will ring your party and connect you to your call recipient. The recipient, however, will still see your Google Voice number in their caller ID.
Google Voice gives users one number and serves as a call forwarding and messaging service free of charge through Google–the service is in Google’s infamous beta testing period right now. You can set your Google Voice to ring any number of phones–including home, office, and mobile–so your callers can just call your Google Voice number and reach you in various locations. Numbers can be set to ring at certain times and hours, and you can set specific voice greetings for each caller–perhaps a casual, witty one for a friend, a professional one for work (Hi, this is Chuong and if you’re Brandon, I really am working today), or a cute greeting for randoms who may be calling you. You can even set Google Voice to hang up on stalkers so you won’t be bothered. Google Voice can handle voicemails and SMS messages as well and can email you voicemail files and transcripts to a Gmail or other email account.
Because it functions much like a regular phone, Apple’s reasoning for rejecting Google Voice is that it duplicates the functionality of the native dialer program for calling on the iPhone.
For a web app, Google Voice on the iPhone works well. It feels like a real app and is responsive without any delays–which is nice when you’re dialing away and tapping on digits. It can pull up your call history and your contacts if you use Gmail and Google to handle your contacts.