Google Voice finally gets to the iPhone with browser app

Apple had rejected last year an iPhone app built by Google, leading to a spat between the companies

Google has found a way to let iPhone owners use Google Voice, the telephony management service whose iPhone-specific application Apple rejected last year.

On Tuesday, Google is launching a Google Voice Web application that runs on iPhone devices with the 3.0 OS or later versions, 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 application lets users tap into a "streamlined" version of the Google Voice inbox, display their Google Voice numbers in caller ID systems, listen to voice-mail messages, read voice-mail transcripts, exchange text messages free and make international calls billed at Google Voice rates, Google said.

To access the application, users need to go to the URL and sign into their Google Voice accounts. They don't need to download anything to their phones.

Google and Apple, former corporate buddies turned snarling rivals, got into a spat last year when Apple rejected a Google Voice application for the iPhone. Apple reportedly justified the rejection by arguing that Google Voice duplicates some native iPhone functionality, which Apple wants to avoid in third-party iPhone apps, while Google called the decision unfair.

The Google Voice-iPhone conflict is one of several issues putting the companies on a collision course. Google's release of its Android mobile OS and devices based on it, as well as the development of the Chrome browser and Chrome OS all put it in a competitive position against Apple. Citing increasing areas of competition, Google CEO Eric Schmidt stepped down from Apple's board of directors last year.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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