Google Voice, the company's Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) app for iOS has been completely overhauled with a new design and new features. However, many of the features that made the app popular when it first came out in 2009 have largely become irrelevant due to improved iOS features. Once-favorite features like call blocking, call routing, voicemail transcription, conference calling and group messaging can all be done through iOS now. That said, there is still a very good reason to use Google Voice.
Google Voice users will be happy to know the iOS app has been updated to fully support iOS 6. Even more exciting for iPhone 5 owners is the expansion of the Google Voice interface to utilize the enlarged iPhone 5 display. We're not sure why Google waited over two months to deploy the update, but we're glad they did.
Google Voice is free on the App Store, and provides users with access to their account and voicemail messages with transcription. Free text messaging to US phones and low rates on international calls are all part of the service, along with a Google Voice number used to make calls. Currently only US residents can use Google Voice.
For those iPhone owners who haven't made the jump to the iPhone 4S, you may be wondering how you can get access to the most hyped iOS 5 feature around: the Siri personal assistant. Siri may bring voice commands and interaction with your smartphone to a whole new level, but Apple has limited the feature to its latest hardware. Even though developers have ported Siri to run on the iPhone 4, the software will not communicate with Apple's servers unless it's on the iPhone 4S.
The original Siri app, formerly available on the App Store to both iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS users is now defunct. Not only has it been pulled from the store, but if you have it installed on your iPhone the software no longer works. So what is an iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS user to do? Here are some alternatives to Siri that will get you talking to your older iPhone in no time.
In one example of a dramatic reversal of App Store policy, Apple has finally accepted two third-party Google Voice iPhone applications after rejecting the apps over a year ago. The apps are named GV Mobile+ and GV Connect, each available on iTunes to US users for $2.99.
The official Google Voice app remains in limbo, with Google claiming in a letter to the FCC that Apple rejected the app. Apple stated that it was reviewing the app but the company hasn't updated the status of its review in the past year. Google Voice duplicates dialing and telephony features built into the iPhone.
Apple told Google that its Voice app was not welcome in the App Store, to the chagrin of many users of the service. Google did not give up, it went ahead and developed a web app that works on any handset supporting HTML 5.
Now iPhone users can get Google Voice using the web app. Simply browse over to m.google.com/voice in Mobile Safari to access the service on your iPhone.