Earlier today Google unveiled their new Google Voice WebApp for iPhone. Sure you can place calls, send text messages, get your voice mail, and access all of your account settings but TiPb was curious how it would stack up to the real-deal native app on Google's own Android platform.
For the full scoop and screenshots, follow me after the break!
If you are a Google Voice user, the first thing you will want to do is add Google's crafty little icons for each part of Google Voice directly to your iPhone Home Screen. Doing so gives you quick access to contacts, the dialer, the voicemail/SMS inbox, and create new SMS pages. Once you select the icon of your choice, Safari pulls up the iPhone optimized WebApp and you're good to go. So, for example, tapping the Google Voice icon will bring you straight to the dialer just as you'd expect -- fast and simple.
Next up we have contacts and that too is laid out very nicely. You get your top called or messaged contacts along with your complete contact list and a search button to search through your contacts. It is important to note you must have your contacts in your Gmail account to access them as this WebApp can not access the contacts stored on your phone.
Going into the inbox you will see not only your SMS messages but your voice mail as well. When you select a voice mail it shows a transcript of the message that was left for you (or I should say it tries it's best to do so). You have three choices for voice mail -- have a transcript sent to via email, via SMS, or open it directly in the WebApp.
So what we have here is a very good effort on Google's part to work with their hands tied behind their back due to Apple rejecting the Google Voice App Store application. Is it as good as the native Android Google Voice app? Not even close.
At the end of the day even though it is a great WebApp, it's still just a WebApp. It can't access your local iPhone contacts, only your online Google Contacts. The bigger issue, however -- and one even a native App Store Google Voice app would suffer from -- is that's it is not integrated into the OS the way it is on Android.
If it was, you could receive calls and SMS from your Google Voice number right on your iPhone. On Android, your Google Voice number can become your phone number. No WebApp, or iPhone app, can currently provide that level of integration and there's no sign Apple has any interest in ever allowing one to.
So, on the bright side, the Google Voice WebApp is close to as good as an App Store app could be.
Below are some screen shots of the native Android Google Voice application.