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Google refuses to respect Apple's authority to police the app store and is releasing its rejected Google Voice app as a full-featured web version.  (Source: Comedy Central)
Getting rejected from the app store is no biggie for Google, apparently

Apple rejected Google Voice almost two weeks ago, removing it from the app store.  Now under investigation by the feds, AT&T has pointed the finger at Apple for the rejection.  Now in an exciting move Google is moving its rejected application online in an effort to essentially negate any attempts by Apple to police the application.

The new app can be installed as an icon on your homescreen.  The specially crafted iPhone-shaped webpage will offer all the features of the original app.  In other words, in a move akin to flipping the bird to Steve Jobs, Google has essentially highlighted a way for app developers everywhere to easily publish their rejected content.

There are some important caveats.  First, Google's app was intended to be free in the first place.  Apps like "MeSoHoly", which Apple rejected as offensive were intended to come at a minimal charge.  Donations could work, but Apple's simple revenue sharing would be missed by developers forsaking the app store.  Second, its not as trivial to build the app online, and there's still things that can't be done within the iPhone's version of Safari.

On the other hand the move could usher in a new era of freedom for iPhone users.  Freed from Apple's dictates of what apps are fit and proper, the phone's true potential could finally be achieved.  Rejected apps like eBook readers (rejected en masse over piracy concerns) could simply move online.  As the New York Times' Dave Pogue puts it, "What's Apple going to do now? Start blocking access to individual Web sites?"

Google Voice online will offer free SMS text messaging and reduced rate international calling.  The cheap calls are achieved via a scheme similar to Skype's.  Text messages are normally almost completely free to carriers use extra capacity for SMS which was previously unused.  Granted, they represent a minimal cost in terms of cell phone tower power and the loss of potential revenue from selling the part of the channel, but in the end they come at little cost to the telecoms, while the average cell phone users pays $10 or more on their phone bills a month for them (some plans include per-message billing, which can run as much as $0.20 per message).

Google's decision to defy Apple is an exciting development.  And one thing's for sure -- Apple's likely not happy and is likely trying to scheme how to stop them.


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The end of the cell providers as we know it
By RonnieJamesDio on 8/7/2009 11:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
This seems like the next step in the long-running conversion of voice into data. VoIP protocols have been doing this in the landline space for years. Taken to the logical extreme this will see the big wireless providers becoming ethereal versions of the Baby Bells- forced to lease their infrastructure to Johhny-Come-Lately companies to the cellco business able to provide the same or better phone service based entirely on an IP data stream.

It seems such a thing would trouble their current bedfellow T-Mobile just as much as Apple/AT&T. I wonder if this is just google stirring up the wireless pot, or the next step in their plot to rule the world?




By ChristopherO on 8/8/2009 8:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how this would trouble T-Mo. My unlimited plan costs $50 from them (you have to be a customer 22 months or greater). I frankly don't understand why VZW and AT&T can charge what they charge because there are other alternatives available that are orders of magnitude less pricey. Granted not all networks are good in all places, so reception is obviously a big factor too.

About the only good thing mobile VOIP accomplishes is potentially force international rates to be something reasonable. None of the wireless carriers have anything resembling decent international rates.

The other thing that annoys me is lack of net-neutrality. I don't think it's as big of a deal on wired services (because they don't seem to be abusing anything, even though they sure talk about it alot), but wireless carriers have tons of restrictions. I think AT&T could probably already block Google Voice because I think their ToS explicitly forbids VOIP services on their data network.


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