updated 11:45 am EST, Tue January 26, 2010
Web app uses streaming tech
Google has updated the mobile web version of Voice, its special telephony service. Users can make cheaper long-distance calls, and have conventional phones linked to a single Google Voice number. iPhone owners can now place calls from within Safari, where they can also check voicemail. One limitation is that unlike some other phones, the iPhone must use Google Contacts info instead of a native address book.
The iPhone code is in fact designed to resemble a native app, to the point of using custom icons when saving bookmarks to the Home screen. People on the other end of a call see a Google number, not an iPhone's usual one.
Voice has been a point of contention with Apple, which rejected a genuine native app some time ago. The incident triggered an FCC investigation, looking into whether Apple was helping carrier partner AT&T avoid competition. An AT&T complaint about Voice accessibility in rural areas may have been a form of retaliation. Neither case has been resolved as of yet.