I’ve had a Google Voice account since mid-2009. I’ve leisurely tinkered with it on and off since I first signed up with the service. Just recently, I’ve started using it much more than I ever had before. The reason for my renewed interest is that Apple finally succumbed and allowed the free Google Voice app for the iPhone into the App Store. The new app, officially from Google, is rich and feature-complete.
In August, I wrote about the awesome TextFree iPhone app. I’ve used it for a while now and definitely would recommend it to replace the expensive text plans from the mobile carriers. I even paid $5.99 for a year of ad-free use of the app, which I think is well worth it.
However, last week, the free Google Voice app suddenly appeared in the App Store. I immediately downloaded the app. Calls to my Google Voice number will automatically ring my phone, and all text messages are displayed through a push notification. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t intend to replace my voice calls with my Google number, but I do intend to use it exclusively to replace native texting. Make sure you disable the forwarding of texts to your actual mobile number in the preferences to avoid being charged for texts by your carrier.
With Google Voice, all text messages are saved and can be browsed in a web interface that looks and behaves like GMail. That is an impressive feature that TextFree doesn’t offer. I hate to abandon TextFree, but I find Google Voice to be incredibly slick, and the app to be more responsive overall. It will be my exclusive means of mobile texting from now on.