Google has released an official app for its Google Voice service. The free app app just hit the App Store a few moments ago and lets users access all the primary features of Google Voice, including placing calls, text messaging, and transcribed voicemails.
Note first that you need a Google Voice account first to use either app – accounts are free and can be requested here (Google Voice is currently only available in the U.S. only). If you’re not familiar with Google Voice, Google provides a number of overview videos on a special Features page. In short, Google Voice is a free service that provides users with a phone number, advanced call management features, voicemail transcription, and free text messaging. Contrary to what those unfamiliar with the service might think, it is not a VoIP service.
The app’s full description is as follows:
- Access your Google Voice account right from your iPhone.
- Receive push notifications for new text or voicemail messages.
- Send free text messages to U.S. numbers and make international calls at cheap rates.
- Listen to your voicemail, read transcripts and manage your Google Voice inbox.
- Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls.
- Call contacts from your iPhone Address Book or enter new numbers on the dialpad.
- A Google Voice account is required to use this app. To sign up go to www.google.com/voice.
- Google Voice is only available in the United States.
The Google Voice app was originally submitted to Apple last year and was an item of contention in an FCC inquiry, to which Apple responded publicly. Google had stated that Apple had rejected the app while Apple had maintained that it was still under review. If Apple’s claim about the app’s review status is correct, this is the longest time it’s ever taken Apple to review and approve an app that we’ve seen.
The official Google app offers push notifications to let you know about new text messages and voicemail transcriptions, which is a feature not currently included in two of the Google Voice apps we reviewed, GV Mobile+ and GV Connect.