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Google Gets Its iPhone Voice 249

Posted by kdawson
from the tap-tap-is-this-thing-on dept.
snydeq writes "Google has found a way to let iPhone owners use Google Voice, launching a Google Voice Web app that runs on iPhone 3.0 OS devices, as well as on Palm WebOS devices. The Google Voice application leverages HTML 5's functionality for running sophisticated Web applications on a browser at speeds matching those of native applications, Google said. The Google Voice-iPhone conflict is one of several issues putting the companies on a collision course, the latest of which involves Apple potentially courting Microsoft to tap Bing as the iPhone's default search."
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Google Gets Its iPhone Voice

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  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:12PM (#30909964)

    You're just shooting yourself in the foot otherwise.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Agreed. The closed nature of the app store has some semblance of keeping things in order...but really all it does is limit innovation. It isn't too hard to tell when an app is going to be a crapp (see what I did there?), but that's Apple for ya...iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove.

    • Oh Apple, let the Apps through already! You're just shooting yourself in the foot otherwise.

      Sorry, but I keep seeing people say this but I have yet to see any evidence to support it (and, quite frankly, have seen nothing but mountains of evidence to the contrary...).

      _YOU_ may be annoyed with Apple because they operate in a closed garden but the _VAST_ majority of users really don't care all that much. Slashdot reader =/= average consumer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)

        Slashdot reader =/= average consumer.

        iPhone consumer =/= average consumer.

        • You don't get out much, do you? All I see on the streets are iPhones and Blackberries.
          • I see more Windows Mobile phones than iPhones every morning when I'm on the train to work. iPhone is the largest group, though, because of the diversity of WM devices.

          • Clearly, it's the other way around. I travel extremely frequently for work to both US coasts, as well as to Europe and Japan. iPhones everywhere they are not.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mdwh2 (535323)

            Jesus Christ - please actually take the time to check some basic market stats before throwing such a ludicrous insult. Apple have a few percent of the market, RIM are better, although just about every other company - LG, Samsung, Motorola - are way ahead, with Nokia the market leader. Those are the facts.

            I don't know where you get out, but it isn't a typical representation of what people actually buy.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          bingo. if they know how to install apps, they already know how to google their problems and are definitely more skilled than the average consumer.

    • by Cyberllama (113628) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:18PM (#30911486)

      Since we'll know for sure tomorrow, I'd just like to toss out a crazy conspiracy theory. I think tomorrow there's a chance, perhaps not a very large one, that Apple will announce integrated Google Voice support in iPhone OS 4.0. I think it's just the sort of curve ball Apple likes to throw, especially since it makes their past bad behavior/decisions look magically justified to the fanboys. That's exactly the sort of thing Apple likes to do:

      "You know how we've stuck with the single button mouse all these years? It wasn't a display of terrible judgment and stubbornness at all! We just wanted to do the mouse *right* and do multi-touch with it! This was our plan all along!"

      "I know we said we didn't think people wanted a video ipod -- but that's because we knew nobody would want it without the amazing video service we're now prepared to offer via iTunes. Now everybody WILL want it!"

      "We were always going to add Copy and Paste! We just wanted to take our time and and ensure we delivered the quality, simple Apple experience that we knew you'd want!"

      etc, etc.

      Apple loves turn their negatives into positives and get carried off the stage by packs of rabid apple fanboys. So it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Apple did something completely unexpected like built-in Google voice support if it scores them a win, catches the press off guard, and gets the FCC off their back. When you think about it, there's really no good reason not to. Sure they might want to stick it Google now that they are direct competitors, but it won't honestly make much difference either way. Frankly, they're better off in that competition supporting anything that android can already do since it's not like Apple has a competing product to Google Voice.

      Ok, I'm grounding enough in reality to realize that this probably *won't* happen. But I do think it *could* happen and it definitely *should* happen. Fingers crossed!

  • Dear Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:14PM (#30909988)

    I switched to Mac so I wouldn't have to use a Microsoft product ever again.

    I'll keep using Google as my search engine, even if it means I have to use a bookmark instead of the search field!

    • by nneonneo (911150)

      iPhone gives you the option of using Yahoo as the default search engine, too. If Apple makes a deal with Bing, it's likely that the option to use Google will still be there, but it won't be the default for new devices.

      • by Sandbags (964742)

        Yes. I seriously doubt they're replace google, except as the default setting. Bing will be the new default on new or re-imaged devices. Hopefully Bing is not hard set in an update to 3.2/4.0 though, that would REALLY piss me off. NEVER change my active selections...

    • There is actually a very good Google app that not only gives you quick access to Google features (Gmail, maps, search, etc) but also has a voice search. Talk into your phone and get Google search results.

  • Does that mean (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:17PM (#30910036) Journal

    If I run out of minutes I can use my data package?

    If I had an Iphone, which I don't...

    • Re:Does that mean (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mathfeel (937008) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:28PM (#30910186)
      I don't think so. I have an Android phone, and it has a native google voice app which will dial to my destination using a random number. On the receiving end, they will see my GV # show up, but on my call history, it's as if I called some random number (including area code). How it works is somewhat convoluted, and is explained in this article [pcworld.com]. I quote:

      Calls initiated from your cell phone using Google Voice are carried over your wireless carrier's network and are not VoIP calls, according to reports.

      However, two advantage for the iphone is immediate apparent to me:
      1. SMS.
      2. Free call to Canada.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well thats why I'm wondering. Its no longer a native app - they're saying its a web app. Meaning you access it... Through the Web... So I imagine its like browsing the net on your IPhone.

        • Re:Does that mean (Score:5, Informative)

          by nneonneo (911150) <spam_hole AT shaw DOT ca> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:40PM (#30910354) Homepage

          HTML5's local storage feature means that this app, if written correctly (which I suspect is the case), can be used offline without a data connection at all.

          For example, see Neven Mrgan's GlyphBoard [mrgan.com]; this is a web app which you can add to your home screen and use offline. The iPhone's new online user manual is another example of a fully offline web app.

          • by Sandbags (964742)

            Makes no sense to use offline. It's purposes are to access voicemail, edit calling groups, manage contacts, control forwarding, and place calls, none of which work without a connection. (placing calls requires an IP signal to Google to program an available pass-through number for you to call with your device to route the call).

            Yea, having access to your google contacts offline might be handy, but there are already easy ways to sync google and you iPhone contact list...

          • by Firehed (942385)

            GV doesn't seem to use the HTML5 features - or at least every time I've tried, it does plenty of reloading and refreshing. Maybe it only tries to pull from local storage when there's no internet connection. Hell, they don't even have it set up so that saving it as a web app (the home screen bookmark thing) hides the navigation bar - and that's literally one line of HTML to implement provided their AJAX is rigged up correctly, which seems to be the case.

            Still, a great start. I certainly see myself using GV

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DragonWriter (970822)

          Well thats why I'm wondering. Its no longer a native app - they're saying its a web app. Meaning you access it... Through the Web... So I imagine its like browsing the net on your IPhone.

          Using the app UI is. Actually calling isn't like browing the web, though, as it uses the hooks Apple provides to the dialing functionality for web pages (originally, Apple focussed on web apps as the primary apps for the iPhone, and when they added native apps, they didn't remove that functionality.)

          Note that you could use

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sandbags (964742)

      No, Google Voice is NOT a Voip technology. The app simple helps you place/connect calls to your multiple phones. The advantage of the app on the iPhone really boils down to a) managing your Google contacts better and b) when you place a call from your cell phone, the target sees your Google voice on their caller ID, not your cell number, so when they call back, it;s routed through Google voice. With a native app and notifications, if you choose not to pass through caller ID the app would be able to tell

      • when you place a call from your cell phone, the target sees your Google voice on their caller ID, not your cell number, so when they call back, it;s routed through Google voice.

        Just to be clear about this -- Google Voice does not and cannot change the outgoing caller ID of any of your phones. Instead, the Google Voice server calls both of you at the same time (the number you're "dialing" using the Google Voice interface and the number of the phone you want to use on your end) and conferences them. That's how they can control what caller ID your callee sees.

        • Re:Does that mean (Score:5, Informative)

          by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @06:06PM (#30910756)

          Google Voice does not and cannot change the outgoing caller ID of any of your phones. Instead, the Google Voice server calls both of you at the same time (the number you're "dialing" using the Google Voice interface and the number of the phone you want to use on your end) and conferences them.

          Google Voice does not, in fact, call your phone with the new app, which is the change from the previous mobile web app (which used the same model as the regular, non-mobile web interface, which calls back to one of your registered phones.)

          The new app gives your phone a number to call and invokes the dialer of your phone, so you make an outgoing call, but to Google Voice, not the final destination of your call. Otherwise, it works the way you describe.

        • by Sandbags (964742)

          That's how it works from the website or from the real app, yes. However, in this case, Google is providing a number for YOU to call and preprogramming the call redirect. It them uses your caller ID from THAT number to the target, so, my phone number I'm calling from (outgoing call) does NOT appear to the person I'm calling, my google number does. They clearly can modify caller ID as well as incoming calls can pass through the callers ID or simply display your google number to you.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      I think you'd set the call up over the web, but then Google Voice will call you, then connect you to whoever you're trying to reach. I think the downside for AT&T is that on some plans you can pick 5 or so numbers that don't count towards your minutes, so if you make your Google voice number one of those you'd have unlimited calling & never touch your minutes. (Except for people not on your list who call you, I guess.)

  • Woohoo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SixDimensionalArray (604334) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:23PM (#30910102)

    Hmm.. first complex HTML5 app maybe?

    I'm probably not the first person to say it, but thank GOODNESS somebody is pushing HTML and web markup tech forward again. Even though some folks don't like some of the new elements present in HTML5, at least it's progressing again. Let's hope this continues!

    -6d

    • by Alcimedes (398213)

      Apple computer:

      Total dicks to the competition, and therefore driving innovation!

      Way to go Apple. :p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wait, you consider this to be a positive thing? HTML, CSS and JavaScript provide the least-desirable development platform that I've worked with in the past 20 years. I mean, compared to late-1980s technology like NeXTSTEP and its class libraries, the web is a massive step backwards. Even MFC development was more enjoyable.

      And really, how is this progress? I mean, they're doing something that was possible using Flash five years ago, Java applets 10 years ago, and NPAPI plugins 15 years ago. That's not progre

  • iPod Touch Fails (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jedi Holocron (225191)

    Yeah, this is impressive, but it will not function properly on an iPod Touch. Google needs to have a way to switch to a different mode of operation that is Touch compatible.

    Yeah, I could use the Skype App....but then I'd have to pay.

    • Re:iPod Touch Fails (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sandbags (964742) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:41PM (#30910368) Journal

      That's because Google Voice is not a VoIP app, but a call redirection service. On a touch, the ONLY features it has are managing voice mail and contacts, it can NOT place calls.

      On an iPhone, from the web app, if you select a contact to call here's what happens:
      1) Google generates a "one time" number in your local area if possible.
      2) Google programs this number such that an incoming call from your selected phone to that number is routed to your selected contact's phone number
      3) it presents you a UI button to press to have the iPhone call the Google one-time number.
      4) when you click the button, you iPhone calls Google's selected one-time number (not your contact). This call will appear on your bill as a call from your cell phone to Google and uses airtime (which depending on your plan and time of day might be free).
      5) Google routes the call and rings your contacts number, presenting your Google voice number on their caller ID screen.

    • Yeah, this is impressive, but it will not function properly on an iPod Touch. Google needs to have a way to switch to a different mode of operation that is Touch compatible.

      Google Voice isn't a VoIP service, its an SMS, voice mail, call routing and contact management service that requires an actual phone line to route voice calls to (or take them from); the only "mode of operation" that would be Touch compatible is the dial-back mode used on the basic website where placing a call has Google Voice call one o

  • Experience? (Score:3, Informative)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:29PM (#30910200)
    Anyone have some first-hand experience with Google Voice willing to share their thoughts? I find it very intriguing but am very hesitant to use it without knowing more...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlexBirch (1137019)
      Google voice is awesome... free texting, I can mark incoming calls as spam, you can listen to a voicemail while it's being recorded and can actually pick up the call.
    • by Trashman (3003)

      Anyone have some first-hand experience with Google Voice willing to share their thoughts? I find it very intriguing but am very hesitant to use it without knowing more...

      What do you want to know?

    • by Sandbags (964742)

      1 good thing, i can now call any of my contacts in my google contact list, and on their caller ID they see my google number, not my cell phone number. there's also a generic dilaer so i can call anyone.
      The individual pages from the app have unique icons if you save them to the home screen (dial pad, voice mail, contacts), so you can have single click equivalents to the native iPhone apps.
      It;s a nice interface to the voicemail system as well, and you can also access your call history on the run (and block t

    • Re:Experience? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Itninja (937614) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:48PM (#30910480) Homepage
      Been using GV on my Android for about 3 months now. Works pretty good. One big complaint is poor call quality. Making a call with my T-Mobile service is fine. But making the same call, from the same location, with GV gives me echos, 1+ seconds delays, and a few other oddities. However the transcribed voice mail is cool, albeit marginally accurate.
    • by spuke4000 (587845)

      I use it, and I quite like it. I don't use the number that google provides, but I have linked my voice mail to gvoice so that rather than going to my Tmobile vmail messages go to Google voice. The transcriber is not so great. You can usually get the gist of a message, but it makes a lot of mistakes. That said, the other voice mail functionality is much better than Tmobile's standard offering, so on the whole the voice mail is much better.

      Also, even without using the google voice number I can initate cal

    • by pdragon04 (801577)
      I got a GV number to replace a second line I bought for my business. Just have it forward to my existing cell number and don't have to spend that extra money anymore. Worked great even before I got an Android phone and now it works even better with it nearly fully integrated into the phone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Trashman (3003)

      Arstechnica [arstechnica.com] has a pretty good write-up on what it is and how it works. I've been using it for several months now. I don't give out my real number anymore and trying to get people to delete my old number and use my Google Voice number to reach me. As It gives much more control.

      And yeah, it's somewhat cumbersome to initiate a call from the website but (much) less so than it is to do that from your phone. A native iPhone app would solve most of the hassles of initiating calls..

    • Re:Experience? (Score:4, Informative)

      by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @06:10PM (#30910802) Journal

      Love it. I have one phone number, and it rings all of my phones based on a schedule I set up. When I'm at work, I get no cell signal at my desk, so I answer my work phone. When I'm on the road, my cell is the only one I'm near, so I answer that. When I'm at home, I answer my Gizmo line so I don't use cell minutes.

      The beauty is, if you want to reach me, you don't have to know where I am. You don't have to keep track of three or more numbers to reach me. You just dial my Google Voice number and, if I'm reachable, I answer. And if I'm not, you leave me a voicemail. I get an SMS on my phone with a transcription of that voicemail, and a copy of the transcription is sent to my Gmail account. Plus I can always call Google from any of my phones and listen to your voicemail directly, or listen to it over the Web.

      And if you are a telemarketer who calls me a lot, you get my "go away" message and I never have to be aware of your existence again. :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by L3370 (1421413)
      I use it for its primarily for the relatively cheap international calling. YMMV, but I do get some good rates to the countries I call, and it beats having to drive to the nearest oriental market for calling cards to asia.

      SMS is where you can save some cash. I used to have an unlimited texting plan but I've nixed that.

      It is great for those of us that have multiple contact numbers. You can add forwarding numbers to your GV account so people that want to contact you only need to know your google number. Yo
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:32PM (#30910244)

    "Google has found a way to let iPhone owners use Google Voice."

    Really? There's a patch for that.

  • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <.ten.egdup. .ta. .todhsals.> on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @05:37PM (#30910316) Homepage Journal

    Use GV Mobile [seankovacs.com], available through Cydia. Much much better. An actual app for starters. :-)

  • We do have wifi, and a mic.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      But, you don't have phone capability... which is what is required for this. The "app" just uses the phone capability to place a call to a Google-owned number, which then routes the call to your destination such that it shows as coming from your Google Voice number, rather than your iPhone number.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        That is why i asked, i was hoping it was a real VoIP that we could use, without jailbreaking first.

  • And Google has (Temporarily) killed the best VOIP service out there: Gizmo5.

    I only wish I picked up a Gizmo SIP while I had a chance. I'm extremely depressed that I didn't. :(

    Google, please bring it back!

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