Len Klie

Apple finally lets Google Voice into the App Store

Google Voice has been available now for more than a year, but alas, poor iPhone owners were unable to use the app because Apple refused to offer it. Now, earlier this week, the powers that be at Apple apparently heard the cry of the masses and have made Google Voice for iPhone available to download from the Apple App Store. But it does come with some limits: Users will need an iPhone with iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the app. And, at this time, Google Voice is still only available in the U.S.

Google Voice for the iPhone offers users access to all the major Google Voice features, like:

  • cheap rates for international calls;
  • free text messaging to U.S. numbers;
  • voicemail transcription using Google’s speech-to-text; and
  • the ability to display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls.

In addition to these benefits, the app provides some features that make using Google Voice on the iPhone a much better experience: The app will alert users instantly when they receive a new voicemail or text message, and most calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls.

But as one would expect when two power players like Apple and Google are involved, there is still a little bit of one-upsmanship going on. Google Voice for iPhone reportedly lacks many of the new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) features that are part of other Google Voice offerings. But, in exchange, users get cheaper international calls than what was available on the iPhone through exclusive U.S. carrier AT&T (which many speculated was the reason that Apple didn’t want to offer the Google app in the first place). They also get free texting and their own Google Voice number. Sounds like a trade-off worth making to me.