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A few weeks ago, third-party Google Voice apps for the iPhone started getting approved by Apple. Now it appears that we may soon see the official Google Voice app on the iPhone, sources tell TechCrunch.
Apple’s earlier refusal to approve the Google Voice app, which used the phone’s normal voice service for calls but integrated with its address book and other core features, proved contentious, sparking an outcry from app developers and government investigations in the U.S. and Europe.
A Google insider told TechCrunch, a technology news site, that the app is in fact already approved, and Google is hard at work updating the app for the iPhone 4 and the iPhone operating system’s multitasking functionality.
The news comes a few weeks after Apple relaxed restrictions on mobile app development and also published a set of App Store guidelines. Earlier this month, Wired.com sought a copy of Adobe’s complaint against Apple regarding its app conversion tool ban, but the Federal Trade Commission refused to hand over the documents — all but confirming that the FTC was actively investigating Apple.
Google had submitted a Google Voice app last summer, but Apple rejected it. Apple later told the FCC that it was studying the app because it was concerned that it was duplicating the iPhone’s voice dialing functions. Google countered by telling the FCC that the app was rejected flat-out. Earlier this year, Google Voice finally found its way to the iPhone in the form of an HTML5 web application.
But while the Web app was nice, a native Google Voice app will be able to do much more — including getting access to your iPhone’s contacts, and being able to take advantage of the iPhone’s multitasking capabilities. As TechCrunch mentions, it also opens the door for Google to allow push text-message and voicemail notifications.
Android users will still have the advantage of much deeper integration with Google Voice — the application can take over core dialing and messaging functions on that platform — but at least now iPhone users won’t be stuck in a web app ghetto.
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