Google Voice released for Android and BlackBerry, but not iPhone
While iPhone users can currently access Google Voice from the Safari browser, what Android and BlackBerry users received Wednesday was a full-fledged independent application that allows users to make calls, send text messages and check voicemail through their separate Google-provided phone number.
Google would like to release an iPhone version of the application, and is "working with Apple" to do so, according to the New York Times.
One unique element Google is touting is the ability to make international calls at a reduced rate. It also allows for text messages to be sent and received for free through the number, also bypassing the cell phone carrier. Google Voice also transcribes voicemails and reads numbers from the smartphone's phonebook.
These capabilities led Wired to speculate that AT&T and Apple could "cripple" a Google Voice iPhone application. It cites the fact that both companies have blocked video applications and forced Skype to nix a feature allowing free phone calls via the phone's data plan.
Currently, the Google Voice service is available to users by invite only.
The new application addresses one crucial problem with Google Voice: While someone might be able to call a user at their Google Voice number, they would likely receive a return call from the cell, home or office number where the person is available. Through the new program, the outgoing call will now appear as the Google Voice number.
Originally called Grand Central, Google Voice is a service that allows consumers to control a variety of phone numbers via one, centralized number. Through the configurable service, calls can be forwarded to or from any phone number and multiple phones can ring at once.
A blog post announcing the release of Google Voice simply said: "Before you ask, yes, we are working on ways to make this service available to iPhone users."