Google Responds to Apple with Enhanced Google Voice Web app for iPhone

Following the no. of events like Apple rejecting the Google Voice App from App Store, and then FCC jumping into investigation and finally Google moving out of Apple’s Board;  Google, today had something new to surprise us — Google will go and enhance the Web app and give Apple a solid bang.

Google is planning on over-hauling the application. In NYT, David Pogue’s column regarding the ongoing saga of Apple and Google Voice, he reveals that Google has already found a loophole:

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.

As you might already know, Google Voice is a free application that lets users assign a unify your phone numbers by using single number to ring their home, work, and cell phones, and also get voice mail as text transcriptions. Earlier we speculate that AT&T had hands behind rejection of app from App Store, but on FCC questioning, AT&T washed their hands free.

The new app can be installed as an icon on your homescreen.  The specially crafted iPhone-shaped webpage will offer all the features of the original app.  In other words, in a move akin to flipping the bird to Steve Jobs, Google has essentially highlighted a way for app developers everywhere to easily publish their rejected content.

The move could usher in a new era of freedom for iPhone users.  Freed from Apple’s dictates of what apps are fit and proper, the phone’s true potential could finally be achieved.  As the New York Times’ Dave Pogue puts it, “What’s Apple going to do now? Start blocking access to individual Web sites?”

Google Voice online will offer free SMS text messaging and reduced rate international calling.  The cheap calls are achieved via a scheme similar to Skype’s.  Text messages are normally almost completely free to carriers as they use extra capacity previously unused capacity.  Granted, they represent a minimal cost in terms of cellphone tower power and the loss of potential revenue from selling the part of the channel, but in the end they come at little cost to the telecoms, while the average cell phone users pays $10 or more on their phone bills a month for them (some plans include per-message billing, which can run as much as $0.20 per message).

Google’s decision to defy Apple is an exciting development.  And one thing’s for sure — Apple’s likely not happy and is likely trying to scheme how to stop them.

It’s not clear if simply making Google Voice available as a Web app will change Apple’s mind, but there is precedent. Apple also rejected Google’s Latitude for the iPhone until it was remade as Web app.

A Google spokesperson did not say how close to completion the project might be, but reiterated a previous statement. “We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users, for example by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.”

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