Ever since Apple rejected Google Voice from the App Store, Google, as well as Voice users have been steaming. Sure, you can place a call or send a text via the Google Voice website, but in mobile Safari is not exactly the iPhone experience that users are accustomed to. Google Voice's website does not allow for a seamless and easy to use experience via a mobile browser.
TechCrunch is reporting that VoiceCentral, whose third-party Google Voice app was also removed from the App Store, will bring Google Voice back to the iPhone. Interestingly though, it will do it via the browser, completely bypassing Apple's app restrictions and revenue sharing. The experience will look and feel exactly as it would were it a normal app (swiping and all). Black Swan, as they're calling it, will feature everything you'd expect, with the only exception being your contacts. You will first need to import your contacts into your Google account before being able to use them.
Another slight annoyance, according to VoiceCentral, is that when you listen to voicemails, the audio will come from the speakers, and not the earpiece. This is due to the iPhone's way of routing audio from websites (using headphones will avoid this problem). Other than that, the app should look and feel like any other iPhone app. It even has offline support, allowing access to previously received transcriptions and texts. Black Swan is coming in early 2010. You can sign up for the limited beta at their website.
Here what it can do:
- Place calls through Google Voice
- Browse your recent call history
- Listen to your voicemails
- Read and send SMS messages
- Import Google Voice contacts for easy dialing/SMS
- Review your billing and transaction history
- It can even be used offline to browse your contacts, call history, voicemails, and SMS messages. (Note: listening to voicemails still requires a connection just like the native app.)
If you want to see it in action, here's the Black Swan teaser video.