After 1.5 years of waiting Google Voice users are finally able to get the Google Voice on their iOS devices in one of three ways, the official Google Voice app, GV Mobile+, and/or GV Connect. Each one has its pluses and minuses but overall I would have to say that Google has failed at its own game. Here are my reviews of each app.
Google Voice (official app) – [2 out of 5]
Cudos to Google for releasing an official app for Google Voice <em>now that Apple (or AT&T) is now allowing it</em> but I feel that the official app does not really do a good job of fulfilling the expectation. The flagship feature of the product does not even work in the official app. For those who dont know, the flagship feature of Google Voice is that you can make calls from your cell phone but have your Google Voice number show up. Basically the official app does not support starting calls from my mobile number as the website does… it only supports making calls direct. Making a call direct mean you are not able to add your number to your A-List on AT&T and have the calls all be free. My other major issue with the official app is that it freezes and crashes too much when using it for text messaging for it to be worth using. I am also displeasured by the options that I am given in the settings pane of the official app there are virtually NO user customizable settings found in the settings pane and I find that to be very annoying. The only thing I really like about the official app is the fact that it supports push notifications. Finally, this app only works on the iPhone, as a result of the ability to only make a direct call the app does not work on the iPod Touch.
GV Mobile+ [3 out of 5]
While you will experience freezes and crashing with this third party Google Voice app it is not as big of a problem as it is with the official app. In its latest update GV Mobile+ give users the option to choose which tab to show on launch. This is really nice considering I use Google Voice mostly for text messaging. You also get some advanced features such as Default Area Code, Access to multiple accounts, and data syncing options that are not offered in the official app. Also, the ability to call mobile is part of GV Mobile+. Even though GV Mobile+ offers a number of features not offered by the official app there are still a great deal of features offered from the voice.google.com site that are missing such as adding notes, blocking callers, and general setting options. One plus for GV Mobile+ over the official app is that it supports iPod Touch users as well. A feature that is glaringly missing from GV Mobile+ it does not support push notifications. This leads me to what is currently the best available iPhone/iPod Touch app for getting Google Voice on your iPhone.
GV Connect [4 out of 5]
Like the official app and GV Mobile+, GV Connect has problems with freezing and crashing but overall this is not a major issue. GV Connect also gives users a lot of settings, including some settings that are not even provided in the default settings at voice.google.com like forwarding text messages to your iPhone. While it seems like forwarding text messages to your iPhone would defeat the purpose of using Google Voice for text messages to begin with I still like the fact that I am given the option. The other things about GV Connect that I like are that it gives me the ability to add notes to a text message thread or even a phone call, it also gives me the ability to block contacts directly from my iPhone. The only thing missing from GV Connect is support for push notifications. GV Connect, unlike the official app, does work on an iPod Touch as well as the iPhone. GV Connect would easily get a 5 out of 5 rating from me if it was not for the freezing/crashing problems and lack of push notifications.
Once push notifications are supported by GV Connect it app will instantly become my number one choice of the three Google Voice apps available for iPhone. Until that time I am going to have to use GV Connect in conjunction with the official app to get my full Google Voice experience.