announcement about support for Google Voice on the iPad and iPod Touch comes with one big "but" - you can't make any phone calls.Before you go getting too excited, know that this morning's
According to Google product manager Marcus Foster, the newest version of Google Voice has hit the shelves and it "lets you use all the features of the app on these devices, such as sending and receiving free text messages - except, of course, make cellular calls."
While we're excited to see Google Voice arrive on the iPad and iPod Touch, we're left wondering - what is so "of course" about this? Why wouldn't we expect to be able to make voice calls over Google Voice on an iPad or iPod Touch? Both of these devices have the hardware capability of making a voice phone call over Wi-Fi, at the very least, so what's holding them back?
Moving past this point, however, Foster writes that you can basically play operator with your devices, initiating phone calls with any of your other devices with a "Click2Call" feature. "Simply click any 'Call' button in the Google Voice app on your iPod or iPad and then select which of your phones you want to ring. Google Voice will call your phone and then connect your call."
Beyond bringing Google Voice to the iPad and iPod Touch, the new version also comes with a few other bells and whistles:
- When you enable Push Notifications, we will automatically disable Text forwarding for you, so you won't receive multiple notifications.
- Want some quiet time? You can send all callers straight to voicemail by turning on Do not disturb in the Settings tab.
- We made it easier for you to place calls from the address book by adding a dedicated Contacts button to the Dialer tab.
- Sending text messages is now more streamlined since you don't need to press the OK button anymore.
Now, it's not that we really want to hold the iPad up to our face to make a phone call, but we have to wonder why the "of course" and where the restriction lies in keeping us from using your iPod Touch as a phone using Google Voice. After all, you can use Skype on both of these devices to make phone calls, so why not Google Voice?
We got in touch with Google to ask why this was an "of course" but we haven't yet heard back. We'll update the story as soon as we do.
Update: We got in touch with a Google spokesperson and they told us that it came down to the simple fact that Google Voice doesn't do voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and that neither the iPod Touch or iPad come equipped with cellular chips for voice call functionality.
In the meantime, you can download the new version and use your iPad to tell your regular phone to make a phone call.