Google to Launch Google Voice on iPhone as WebApp

Google's own Google Voice app for the iPhone was infamously rejected from the iTunes App Store, so what's the world's leading Web 2.0 giant going to do about it? Release Google Voice as a WebApp targeted at the iPhone's advanced Mobile Safari web browser, of course!

According to David Pogue of the NY Times, much as they did with Google Latitude when that application was similarly denied entry into the App Store, Google's river is finding a way around Apple's rock:

Already, Google says it is readying a replacement for the Google Voice app that will offer exactly the same features as the rejected app—except that it will take the form of a specialized, iPhone-shaped Web page. For all intents and purposes, it will behave exactly the same as the app would have; you can even install it as an icon on your Home screen.

So, will a WebApp be enough for you Google Voice users, even one as good as Google can likely make?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • It doesn't even matter. All that matters is that they are making an attempt to overide apple bogus guidelines.
  • Cool. I like it man. (:
  • Does safari have access to the microphone :S
  • No way... a webapp is not enough. There should be a real app and, ideally, integration the way there is with Android. Google voice is the future and you can't just neuter it down to a webapp.
  • When is the launch date? Anyone knows?
  • @rob
    technically, GV just forwards the call that you're calling over to your actual phone. that's how it works from any other browser anyway.
    This is cool, but I'm on the a JB iPhone, so it doesn't matter what they do cause I have the app already ;)
  • @chrstpher.ross ah dont really understand we dont have it in the uk
  • Can a web app get push notification? If not, then it's not good enough. I'm surprised Apple hasn't already reversed their decision on this. I don't see how they can come out a winner in this pissing contest.
  • Apple may be beholden to AT&T on this. FCC might find out :)
  • @Rob GV is basically a telephone switchboard. It will forward a call to any phone (landline or mobile) of your choice, or begin the call so that it appears on the recipient's caller id as your GV number and then hand the call over to the phone of your choice (landline or mobile). It will also intercept sms (this is, IMO - unfortunately, the feature most wanted by the majority of those who just received a GV number).
  • All I can say is GO GOOGLE!! Screw Apple. Even if the webapp has partial functionality, it is worth it to see someone bypass Apple's Draconian rules (or lack thereof) on what is permissable in the AppStore.
  • All web apps stink, on the desktop or palmtop. Why? Because they do not generally interact with the OS and other applications. The only web apps I use are those I must, 75% functionality is better than 0%.
  • E (comment #4) was right. This web app will help us iPhone users "get by", until we can vacate the pile of crap that is Apple.
  • That's ok Rob, ATT and Apple don't understand GV either. If they did ATT would encourage it as it just increases voice usage.
  • @mike
    Your comment makes no sense. Lol. First you degrade them by saying they have draconian rules, then you question your own statement by saying "or lack thereof". So which is it? Do they, or do they not have draconian rules. Lol.
  • Of course it's not enough. WIthout push SMS alerts, GV for me = useless. (and no, getting SMS forwarded to me from those silly 406 numbers is not sufficient)
  • I just wish Google would stop messing around and give me a supreme web app, or legit app if possible that would include docs, gmail, voice, and all other google apps I'd ever need....
    Now THAT would be awesome.
  • Christopher Cox, you missed my point. With the "lack thereof" statement I am questioning if they have any rules for apps whatsoever. Since none have been published we really don't know. We ASSUME they do. We ASSUME there is some rhyme or reason to why they reject certain apps and accept others. And I am not talking JUST rejecting apps. An example is this: Why is ORB allowed to run freely on WiFi AND 3G, yet Slingbox can't run on 3G? Both are streaming video. Again, no logical reason for it.
    So, to most of us, Apples "rules" (if they have any) seem Draconian.
    Get my point now? I don't know how better to explain it.
  • I was looking forward to have the sms messages pushed but I see they are doing the best they can with the apples they are given, so its all good
  • i just want to be able to make calls directly from my contacts list or when a phone number is in an email i can call directly using my GV number. GV Mobile currently cant do that I was hoping the official google app would.
  • Sholloman, we're better off than we were before. We at least can get GPS info from Safari, it's only a matter of time before we get other integration and the line between native and web apps is blurred. ChromeOS is the real innovation here.
    Well not here, but out there.
  • @Rene:
    Apple may be beholden to AT&T on this. FCC might find out
    That is my pet theory.
    But if I put on my Tinfoil Think cap, I could speculate about that big east coast data center apple is building and muse about why they wanted to build something that big.
    Or it could just be "Evil Steve" is back.
  • @Michael Reynaga:
    i just want to be able to make calls directly from my contacts list or when a phone number is in an email
    You can do that if you sync your contacts to your google account.
    Then, just bookmark your GV contacts page on your home screen, tap it, tap the name, tap call button.
    Still, its that ugly two way call setup, but it does work.
    Having a national calling plan, I have very little use for this, other than the google rates for overseas calls are way cheaper than ATT rates.
  • @Lazlow:
    Of course it’s not enough. WIthout push SMS alerts, GV for me = useless. (and no, getting SMS forwarded to me from those silly 406 numbers is not sufficient).
    Laz: GV forwards to your cell phone, at no cost to you.
    Why would you need push?
    Even voice mail messages get transcribed and emailed to you. (With or without sms)>
  • So what did the app that they rejected provide just to set weather to redirect the google number to your iphone or did you actually make calls through it ?
  • I feel bad for you guys I was predevcamp in sanfran and I seen a fully capable google voice app for webos.
  • Saving me tons of minutes along with Gizmo5..but soon I will be switching to Sprint (Better plans with more features).
  • @Rob:
    Yes, the Rejected app allows direct calls from your GV number, by carrying the call over TCP/IP (Wifi) to google. Then google dials out on a real phone line.
    Currently, what happens is you can originate a call from the google voice web page, but it calls your phone, then it calls the other party. Its slower and clunky.
  • @icebike thanks for the explanation, appreciated
    surely this means skype is 'duplicating the functionality of the iphone' aswell, what a mess this app store is
  • I requested an invite for GV....2 days later and I got it....waiting for the webapp....
  • So tell me, Why do you guys need an app to make calls again when you've got a cel phone (iPhone) that already does it?
    If you're answer is, "so they are free" Then i don't even need to debate/argue with you, i'll instantly ignore anything you say, Limewire/Bittorrent Open source attitude types are Scum to me.
  • "Open source attitude types are Scum to me."
    Are you some kind of idiot? Open source software isn't used as a vehicle to steal software, music, etc. Limewire and Bittorrent is.
  • Some kind of idiot? Nah -- just the specific type of idiot who cannot hit
    on his iPhone and see the plethora of Open Source software that powers the iPhone, and without which the iPhone (and the Mac, for that matter) would not exist.