Google Voice, the popular calling suite provided by Google, which is at the heart of current controversy with Apple and the iTunes application store, is under new fire. The Congress of the United States has asked for a probe of Google Voice by the FCC over possible problems stemming from exclusion of calling certain remote rural areas.
This is the exactly what Google was trying to avoid, being painted cleanly as the bad guy. Apple, conversely, can now point out another flaw of Google Voice to give them perhaps a firmer platform to stand on against the acceptance of Voice into the App store.
Of course, the calling for a probe is hardly immediate cause for concern for Google. The US government has asked an arm of its legal division to run a probe. Even if the FCC decides to take up this request, it would be months before any decisions were made. Google is making the case, that while telephone companies are forbidden from blocking any calls, they are hardly a telephone company, and are thus free from the regulation.
This will evolve into a purely political issue. The actual discussion over whether Google Voice has to make all calls, or can restrict them is nearly a non-starter. Google can make that change in a day, and the supposed cost burden would be born from product revenues. However, this is an important change in the winds in regards to the Apple v. Google legal strife. Google now appears as a stingy giant, which is hard sell when they are trying to paint Apple as just that.