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Apple and Google-Less Than Friendly, Less Than Open

It remains hilarious how Apple and Google are playing with one another over the GoogleVoice application. Rather than simply agree on how to make it work, the two are having a superpowers (I want to say super poser) standoff.

So today, Google updates their web browser based version to offer a smoother and more elegant performing functionality, according to a Reuters report.

As someone who was involved in the launch and success of GoogleVoice, from the GrandCentral era, I'm happy to see that no path of being blocked is stopping the team there from making sure their users can still use the service. But at the same time, there needs to be detente and that won't be coming any time soon. The launch of the Nexus One, more than even backing the Android play is the root of this. Having now had my Nexus One for a few weeks I can safely say, its no iPhone, nor is it even as robust as the Motorola Droid. On my Droid I love having the benefit of GoogleVoice, and there's no comparison to coverage and signal strength vs. the iPhone on AT&T. Hands down, the best experience I have is with the Droid.

But Google going into the handset business is at the root of the battle, with GoogleVoice nothing more than a pawn in the game of chess that the two powerhouses are playing.

What's amazing to me though is how Apple hasn't worked with the mobile operators to develop their own iVoice platform. I mean, not much inside GoogleVoice hasn't been done before. Go back in time to Webley, now called CommuniKate which for all intents and purposes, other than the hidden callback aspect of GoogleVoice does almost all that GV does, minus the transcription.

So here's the play for Apple-

1. Buy Webley/CommuniKate whose already proven voice XML/IVR is world class and patented

2. Integrate PhoneTag

3. Offer it to the carriers as a value added service

This Rethink Wireless piece supports the Apple buying technology theory.

Game over.


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Stuart, you are correct. We are all looking for the universal chat-phone application.

Having a chat client that does jabber and SIP is getting there.

As for iPhone-ATT-gVoice, a little thing called and an iPhone with a SIP client can do that pretty well. "That" being free incoming and outgoing domestic long distance call to PSTN.

It can do it "Very well " with a Jail-Broken phone, over the 3G network.

What is the end-result of these application restrictions? Long blog posts about how to cheat the "evil ones". Ironically Mr. Jobs, the "evil" in this case are Apple and ATT, not Google.

Funny thing; people quietly innovate around corporate barriers to communication.


One little thing.... Apple has a notification server... and that "signaling" system is every bit as effective as any numbers that Google may want to give out. While I love some of the convenience that GoogleVoice provides Apple has the opportunity in time to really change the way calls are set up. In a world that increasingly text's first I think that's important. Just like on the desktop the DND mode on the iPhone will be welcome even if not broadcast.

Still in the meantime... what Apple needs is iChat at Skype quality standards... that interconnects with everything and runs in the background.

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