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Google Voice for iPhone hands-on!

Published Nov 16th, 2010 3:17PM EST

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Apple finally approved (or accepted) Google’s official Google Voice app for the iPhone just minutes ago, and while 3rd party versions of the software were allowed back in a couple months ago, sometimes there isn’t anything like the official version. We messed around with the app and here are some of our initial thoughts:

  • We love how straight forward the app is to use. You’d think this would be the case for any application, but Google really nails the usability angle here.
  • Dialing a number quickly and efficiently is the most important part of a phone calling app, and since you have to manually switch to another app and not the iPhone phone app, you don’t want to waste more time by jumping around tabs, and different screen views. On here, hit the dialer tab, and you’re ready to dial. Also of note: Google Voice for iPhone makes use of outbound dialing, so you never have to wait for an incoming call to ring your phone, you just “dial out”.
  • One major issue with Google Voice’s web apps and iPhone-optimized website, was that the experience was kind of lousy. You’d want to dial or shoot a quick text message off but couldn’t due to the fact the entire UI was in Safari, thus it scrolled around, sometimes would be a little delayed, etc. The app provides very quick access to SMS creation and sending, especially for conversations not yet started. This is important here, because the faster these tasks get, the more people will use Google Voice and centralize their calling/texting habits and behaviors.
  • The inbox view is great — you have all your voicemails, incoming calls, missed calls, text messages and recorded calls in one neat, and super clean-looking list. You can also manually view just a specific category like voicemails or text message if you’d like, however.
  • Push notifications on here are lightning fast, and are so, so necessary.

All in all, this is close enough to an integrated experience like Android offers to make iPhone-using Google Voice users extremely happy. Now if they could only work on their voicemail transcriptions… Check out our hands on photos in the gallery!

Jonathan S. Geller
Jonathan Geller Founder, President & Editor-in-chief

Jonathan S. Geller founded Boy Genius Report, now known as BGR, in 2006. It became the biggest mobile news destination in the world by the end of 2009, and BGR was acquired by leading digital media company PMC in April 2010.

Jonathan is President of BGR Media, LLC., and Editor-in-chief of the BGR website.

What started as a side project at the age of 16, quickly transpired into 24-hour days and nights of sharing exclusive and breaking news about the mobile communications industry. BGR now reaches up to 100 million readers a month through the website, syndication partners, and additional channels.