Last week we reported that Google had finally begun rolling out support for incoming number ports to its Google Voice service. Lack of the feature, as any Google Voice user will likely attest to, has been a sore spot for Google’s telephony product since the company first acquired GrandCentral in 2007. Today, Google has announced that the new feature is now available to all current Google Voice users. Number portability allows users to transfer their cell phone or landline telephone numbers between service providers. Google Voice has always supported outbound number porting, which allowed users to transfer their Google Voice number to another carrier, but incoming ports had been off limits until recently. Google charges a one-time $20 fee to port a number into Google Voice, and the process takes approximately 24 hours. Hit the break for a video explaining the process. More →
If you’re a Google Voice user and you’re not TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington (who was able to port his number into the service a long time ago), odds are pretty good you’ve prayed for incoming number portability at some point. And for years, your prayers have gone unanswered. Well, no more — Google has officially implemented incoming number portability as of Wednesday evening, and it is in the process of being rolled out to all users. Rejoice! To port your number into your Google Voice account, simply click on Settings in the top right corner, and then Voice settings. Now, on the phone tab next to your Google Voice number, click on Change / Port. Now click on “I want to use my existing mobile number instead” and follow the on-screen instructions to port your number. There you go — you now have 867-5309 as your phone number and $20 less in your pocket.
After Apple rejected the Google Voice app for the iPhone (or withheld the app’s release for further review, according to Apple), the Internet erupted with anger. Some folks even went as far as ditching their iPhones and moving to Android or other devices, platforms and carriers. While a move like that may have been a little drastic, we’ve all been waiting impatiently as the FCC continues to review the case in order to determine if anything was awry. In this latest addition to the soap opera, the FCC has released a previously confidential letter from Google explaining the company’s position. In a nutshell: Google claims Apple was concerned that the dialer in Google Voice would somehow replace iPhone’s native dialer. Apple also allegedly made it clear that it did not want to confuse its customers, which could be nice or extremely insulting depending on how you look at it. We’re going with the latter. Shortly after the Internet exploded in response to this new Google letter, Apple issued a rare, albeit brief, public statement: “We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in their FCC letter. Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application and we continue to discuss it with Google.”
[Via Ars Technica]
It looks like the FCC’s bravado move to lay some smack down on both Apple and AT&T has pretty much unearthed a whole heap of nothing. AT&T and Apple have just released their responses to those now infamous letters the FCC sent to Apple, AT&T and Google over the whole Google Voice debacle. AT&T’s position is best summed when it said that it had “no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application”, while Apple’s response is pretty damn classic. You see, Apple is claiming that this is all just a misunderstanding and that it didn’t reject the official Google Voice app, it’s just taking its sweet ass time reviewing it in full. Why? Because it’s has two major concerns:
1. “[Google Voice] appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail.”
2. The iPhone user’s entire Contacts database is transferred to Google’s servers, and we have yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways. These factors present several new issues and questions to us that we are still pondering at this time.”
Anyone abreast on anything Apple-related knows there’s a multitude of applications available for download or purchase that duplicate many different parts of the iPhone interface so we’ll leave the comments to you, as always.