Apple has finally given its seal of approval to the Google Voice app for the iPhone, in what could be a clear sign of the company relaxing its stringent App Store policies.
After over a year of squabbling between the Sunny State neighbours and an FCC investigation, the controversial Google Voice app has been allowed into Apple’s App Store, which had seemed to become a lost cause for the search giant.
For those who don’t know Google Voice is, it is a Voice-over IP (VOIP) service that diverts outgoing calls to Google’s own servers, allowing users to make cheap, and in some cases, free, phone calls from their handsets. Incoming calls are routed normally over the caller’s network, at no extra cost.
VOIP services in general are a bit of a grey area in the telecoms world. Network operators obviously don’t like the idea of losing business to a cheaper alternative and unfortunately for them, Google Voice is exactly that.
While Apple would never admit to it, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one of the reasons it did not approve the app the first time was clearly to avoid upsetting the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the US, AT&T. This consequently led to an investigation from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which contacted Apple, Google and AT&T separately to get to the bottom of the issue.
Well, that all seems to be in the past now. The app is available right now as a free download from the US iTunes Store. Sadly for UK customers, Google Voice is still unavailable on this side of the pond. So for now at least you’ll have to make do with the likes of Skype and Fring.