It’s been a wild ride for native Google Voice apps on the iPhone: After getting booted out of the App Store more than a year ago for reportedly “duplicating existing functionality,” they’re back with a vengeance this month -- and if the rumors are true, an official app from Google may soon join the fray.
TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has already approved an official Google Voice app, which could appear anytime within the next few weeks. That information comes direct from “a source close to Google,” although the app apparently needs to be reworked for iOS 4 and multitasking after languishing for over a year since its rejection last summer.
As you may recall, Google submitted an official Google Voice app to Apple in July, 2009 which never made it to the App Store -- Google claimed the app was rejected, while Apple denied that claim and said it simply needed additional review time. Whatever the case, the fracas carried over to a trio of third-party apps, including the popular GV Mobile from developer Sean Kovacs and VoiceCentral from Riverturn, all of which were yanked from iTunes, never to return. Or so we thought.
After Apple detailed new App Store guidelines back on September 9, they inadvertently paved the way for the triumphant return of Google Voice apps to iOS, first with developer Andreas Amann’s GV Connect and almost immediately after, a refreshed GV Mobile+ from Kovacs. (Riverturn is also exploring the return of VoiceCentral after retooling the app into an HTML5 “weblication” called Black Swan, which is still available.)
The return of third-party Google Voice apps to the iPhone then begged the question, “What about Google?” Officially the company didn’t have much to say on the matter, issuing a brief non-statement along the lines of: “We currently offer Google Voice mobile apps for Blackberry and Android, and we offer an HTML5 web app for the iPhone. We have nothing further to announce at this time.”
That may very well be the case, but it’s almost a no-brainer that Google will want a native app on the iPhone, and as TechCrunch notes, “it’s entirely possible that it will include functionality that the others don’t” -- namely push notifications for incoming SMS and voicemail messages, which have been difficult for third-party developers due to the lack of an official API from Google. Stay tuned!
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