Google Voice Lands on iPhone

After spending nearly a year and a half shut out of Apple's App Store, Google Voice has finally been allowed through the gate.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has confirmed that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has indeed approved a native version of the omnibus telephony tool for its App Store, bringing to a close a long standoff that formed a sturdy subplot in the intensifying rivalry between the two tech titans.

Google Voice promises an array of voice and messaging options, including low-cost international calling, searchable voicemail transcription and a consolidated, unique phone number that can forward calls to all of a user's devices.

But last July, Google said that word had come back from Apple that its Voice app had been rejected, provoking a string of conspiracy theories about the reason for the denial.

The Federal Communications Commission asked for answers about the Voice applications and its rejection from Google, Apple and AT&T (NYSE: T), the exclusive U.S. carrier of the iPhone, which many observers had suggested was the culprit in the decision to keep a competing, IP-based telephony service out of the App Store.

The three companies' responses provided some new details about Apple's approval process, which evidently does not involve AT&T. Instead, Apple argued that the native Voice app altered the iPhone's user experience to an unacceptable degree, which seemed to mollify the FCC, though the agency continues to keep a close eye on the practices of the wireless industry.

Then in January of this year, Google developed an HTML 5 application that brought some of the Voice functionality to the iPhone as a Web app. But the native app remained in limbo. Until now.

"Today we're taking the Google Voice experience on the iPhone to a whole new level with the launch of the official Google Voice for iPhone app," said Google software engineer Christian Brunschen.

Google's Voice app for the iPhone is available for download here, and requires users to be running Apple's iOS 3.1 or a later version.

Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Google, iPhone, Apple, app store, Google Voice