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Google answered the prayers of many iPhone users by releasing a native iOS app for Google Voice after being denied entry to the App Store over a year ago. The free official app, while lacking many preference settings found on paid third-party offerings, is otherwise slicker in every way.
The app is split into four tabs: Inbox, Dialer, Contacts and Settings. You’ll spend most of your time using the Inbox tab, where you can see incoming calls and messages, complete with a preview of your SMS or voicemail transcription (voicemails can also be played back within the app). Dedicated folders for Starred messages, History, Voicemail, Text, Placed, Received or Missed calls and Spam repeat the same functionality found on the Google Voice website.
Dialer apes the iPhone’s native look and feel and you also have the option to send text messages. You can access people already on your iPhone under Contacts, as well as add frequently dialed or recent numbers to a Quick Dial section. There’s a small Quick Dial display bug that sometimes makes photos appear on the wrong contacts, but tapping Edit and rearranging affected contacts clears things right up.
Settings contains your Google Voice account data, including available credit balance for international calls -- as low as two cents per minute in many countries. You can also select existing phone numbers to route Google Voice calls to (or add a new one), but you’ll have to hit the Google Voice website to remove numbers, verify new entries or access other preferences – something we hope will be addressed in a future update.
Built-in push notifications for missed calls, voicemails and SMS is the star feature of the Google Voice app -- none of the competitors have it, instead relying on other third-party apps like Boxcar or PushMail. Notifications are fast and get you into the app swiftly so you can act on them, thanks to iOS 4 fast app switching.
On the downside, Google Voice is strictly for the iPhone – users of other devices will have to rely on third-party solutions for now. Due to iOS restrictions, the GV app can’t neatly tie into the system dialer the way it does on Android, where you can choose to make calls through the service every time you dial out. Otherwise, this free app is a winner for anyone already using the Google Voice service.
The Bottom Line: Despite limited preference settings and a few bugs, the official app is a winner for anyone already using Google Voice.
iOS 3.0 or later
Faster than paid third-party apps, instant push notifications for text messages, missed calls and voicemail, key functionality from website is present and accounted for, and it’s all free.
GoQuick Dial section has minor display bug, preference settings are sparse (and some require a trip to the website), no Android-style dialer integration with operating iOS, limited to iPhone only.