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Official Google Voice App Approved For iOS 147

Posted by timothy
from the do-they-need-a-killer-app? dept.
silverpig writes "Apple has finally approved the official Google Voice app for iOS. After 16 months of being in app-review limbo, the app is finally here, but only for users in the US, and not for iPod Touch users. An interesting use for the app would be to use it as a dialing front end on an iPod touch in concert with a VOIP service, but it seems like this isn't an option for now. It seems like non-US users can get the app if they have a US iTunes account. You can create a US iTunes account without a credit card by following this Apple article."
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Official Google Voice App Approved For iOS

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  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @06:54PM (#34249914)

    Because it's a phone forwarding app, not a VOIP app. It would do nothing without an active phone connection.

  • "approval" (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:08PM (#34250038)

    meanwhile, those of us who bought a phone *we* control did not need "approval" to install VOIP apps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:16PM (#34250100)

    That's because you have Aspergers. Your social impairment doesn't allow the kind thought that allows normally functioning people to place their own values in context.

  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry,matt54&yahoo,com> on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:17PM (#34250112)

    I'm wondering why they restrict it to iPhone only...

    Because it's not a VoIP application and requires a telephone connection to work. I'm sure someone will point out that it can integrate with SIP, but that that's a non-discoverable, for nerds only feature for which Google doesn't provide any web interface or instructions on how to use. Joe Average isn't going to be using SIP with Google Voice until it's officially supported. Google did buy Gizmo5 so they may make it happen at some point in the future.

  • Re:Holy $@#* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by t2t10 (1909766) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:22PM (#34250154)

    Nice? It took them a year and a half to approve something that tons of other applications have already provided for that long? That's not "nice".

    This was a seriously anti-competitive move by Apple, trying to damage Google Voice while favoring their competitors. Fortunately, iPhone is not big enough of a player for that to have mattered much.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:24PM (#34250168) Homepage
    About 30% of that is wrong, another 30% of it is certainly nowhere near Apple-specific. The remaining amount may be correct, but is presented in a black-and-white manner without context that clearly indicates your bias and unwillingness to consider any viewpoints other than your own.

    What I'm getting at here is that the arguments against the Apple walled garden have been hashed and re-hashed uncountable times, and the responses have been made, often in an equally zealous and unproductive manner. If you still don't understand that other people have perfectly valid preferences which don't agree with your own, that is your own failing not anybody else's. To imply that someone is faulty just because they don't agree with you is disingenuous at best.
  • by Trolan (42526) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @07:30PM (#34250200) Homepage

    Apple is clearly abusing its users: If you buy one of my outrageously overpriced devices, you will only be able to login as an unprivileged user, we reserve the right to login as administrators.

    I hope you're not trying to compare to Android, since the above could easily apply there too under most carriers.

    You will be able to install applications, but only if we approve them first. We decide what apps you get and what apps you don't arbitrarily, and you have no part in that process.

    App store policies are now published, and they've been following them pretty well it seems, based on the types of apps which had been in limbo, and have since been approved post-policy posting. Google Voice was also pulled by Google post-publishing of those guidelines, since they wanted to update it, which they did, and it was approved.

    If you want to install an app, first you need to sign up in our store, give us all of your personal information, and you will have to give us your credit card. We are the only providers, we are a monopoly, you can't buy apps from anywhere else.

    Aside from the "no other store" it's not much different than any other purchase you make online.

    Also, we'll keep 30% of what you pay for any app. We will restrict what apps you can use based on where you are, who you are, or other parameters we can arbitrarily choose later. We will actively discriminate our users. Also, your device has a kill switch, and we disable it any time we want.

    30% is light for distribution costs compared to anything you find in the brick & mortar world. It's also something that is more of a developer concern than an end-user. Once you have an app installed, you can use it. Any regional restrictions on app store visibility would be up to the developer. There may be rules in place that the app developer had to abide with to get the app approved, such as the earlier VoIP over Wifi only restriction, which has since been lifted. The Kill Switch exists on most of the other smartphones as well. Apple has yet to use theirs. The only known use of any kill switch on an iOS device so far has been the remote bricking of the prototype iPhone 4. They've never killed an app, even ones which got approved and were in violation of app store rules.

    We also control what songs, music or other content you download, and deliberately add restrictions to those files, so they are ours, not yours.

    You can download and put whatever you want in media on your phone/iPod/iPad. If you want to buy it from online, you have the option of using iTunes... which has no DRM on the music files. You can also get your music from anywhere else, and copy it onto your iOS device as mp3, aac, etc. Video files still have DRM, but you'll get that with pretty much any paid video download (Hulu, Netflix, etc.)

  • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:54PM (#34250784)

    We decide what apps you get and what apps you don't arbitrarily, and you have no part in that process.

    They don't control this for one very simple reason. Users can always choose to not use an iPhone. If an application is needed/wanted that is not on an iPhone then don't use an iPhone. If you don't like Apple's policies then don't use an iPhone. If you think Steve Jobs is a whiny git and don't like black turtlenecks with jeans, then don't use an iPhone. There are plenty of other options out there. Pick one and enjoy it.

    It seems to have eluded you that lots of bright and well informed people don't actually care about any of those things that seem to bother you so much. There are upsides to every one of those downsides you mentioned. Making administrative access available to most users is a serious security risk (see Microsoft Windows). Having a central body approving/rejecting apps also has the upside of keeping poor quality apps and malware off the machine. If you want to buy anything online you have to give personal information if you use a credit card. Having Apple as the only provider of apps also means that getting apps is a simpler process. If you can find a distribution channel for software with the reach of iTunes that costs less than 30% of revenue you should damn well take advantage of it. Etc, etc, etc.

    Yes, all your points are legitimate criticisms of Apple and their products but you are only telling half the story. Look at the pros and cons and see if a given device makes sense for you. If you don't think the iPhone suits your particular needs/desires then buy something else and quit whining about it. I'm plenty smart enough to decide for myself whether I want to deal with Apple and AT&T. It's a contract we enter (or don't) willingly. It's only abuse if it's something we genuinely need and we have no alternatives or are misled somehow. You're assumption that all iPhone users are naive/stupid/abused simply is both arrogant and condescending.

    If you ever try, there are very high chances that our countermeasures will work and your device will become useless. We won't help you.

    Why would any company support software that they didn't write and which has the potential to cause them (and AT&T) real headaches and real costs? Would you seriously expect Microsoft to support linux? If you want to jailbreak you iPhone, go ahead. I've certainly got no problem with you doing so and actually think it's pretty cool. But expecting Apple to support your hacking is delusional.

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @09:41PM (#34251048)

    Does it bother you that you aren't allowed to log in as root on your dishwasher?
    How about your car's engine controller?
    How about your pocket calculator?
    How about your TV set?
    How about your PC monitor? No, not the PC itself, the monitor's menu controller?
    How about your A/V receiver?
    How about the digital photo frame you gave your mom last Christmas?
    How about the GPS unit in your car?
    How about the oscilloscope your technicians use at work?
    How about the treadmill at your gym?


    Then what in the world is such a big deal about a stupid cell phone? If it does what you want and you can afford it, buy it. If not, buy something else, or nothing at all. Computers are appliances now, and vice versa. Deal with it and get over it.

  • Thank you for that informative article.

    You have beautifully demonstrated the difference between iPhones & Android.

    iPhone: Want to download a free app? We'll make it so difficult to do without a credit card that there a 15 step knowledge base article on how you need to do it.

    Android: Click on the app & wait for it to install.

    Which one just works?

  • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @12:54AM (#34251854) Homepage

    Aside from the "no other store" it's not much different than any other purchase you make online.

    Except he's not talking about purchases. He's talking about installing software. If I need a backup software solution, I google around for a while, find some recommendations, compare some features, then go to the site of the person who makes what I want to try. Half of the time they're free, so I just install and try it out. Otherwise they likely have a demo to go for 30 days, or THEN I'll pull out a credit card and give cash. Really, the app store is like walking into Best Buy and purchasing something, whereas the way people get software has changed significantly since then.

    There may be rules in place that the app developer had to abide with to get the app approved, such as the earlier VoIP over Wifi only restriction, which has since been lifted.

    There is something like 30 restrictions, which change about 4 times per year. And what defines each restriction shifts constantly. You're not allowed to have porn, for example. Which Apple at times has used to ban end-user generated photo sharing apps and apps with entirely clothed women, but APPROVED a PLAYBOY app. You're not allowed to have parodies that include real people. Obama on a trampoline. You're not allowed to use any API's that are "unpublished." For a while they allowed wifi-sniffing and network tools apps, and recently reversed that and banned them all. They ban anything they consider distasteful or crass or pointless, yet they keep millions of fart apps up on the store. They've stuck good developers in limbo for years over random apps. And if anything the year-and-a-half ordeal with Google Voice has shown, they or their partners are not above creating new rules if they feel threatened. A video streaming app, for example, was rejected early on for using too much bandwidth, even though that was never a stated prerequisite.

    And while it is great that they've finally officially published standards two months ago, that is yet another revision of the rules, which they've been revising constantly and turned the iPhone into a moving target. I had a few useful but easy to write apps that I wanted to write in Flash CS5's export function, for example, shortly before they banned it. Now that it is unbanned and no-longer supported by Adobe, I can't imagine I'll bother.

    You can download and put whatever you want in media on your phone/iPod/iPad.

    As long as that media isn't a flash game, or other game. Or requires plug-ins, such as Ogg Vorbis or Monkey Audio. Or, for that matter, video that hasn't been munged to Apple's specific format.

    I'm on my second iPhone, and am eyeing an iPad. I love Apple's user interface designers, and feel that they deserve tremendous amounts of credit for pulling the US out of the Nokia-dominated dark ages of candybar phones and being tethered to our desks. But they need to open the platform. While I may not care for porn apps, they banned a good number of network tools that would genuinely help me in my daily life. And keeping Google Voice off their phone for a year and a half for no damned reason is just infuriating. They need to start treating their users like adults, or they risk losing us to Android.

Between infinite and short there is a big difference. -- G.H. Gonnet