Black Swan FAQs
- What is VoiceCentral Black Swan?
- How does VoiceCentral Black Swan work?
- Why do you use this middleware layer instead of going directly to Google Voice?
- When compared to the native VoiceCentral app, are there limitations to VoiceCentral Black Swan?
- Why can't I see my contacts' names in my list of calls or voicemails?
- How are contacts synced?
- Why does voicemail play only through the speaker or the headphone jack and not the earpiece?
- Can I delete items from VoiceCentral Black Swan?
- How do I update my VoiceCentral account after changing my Google Voice e-mail address?
- Can I disable the prompt when dialing using my iPhone within VoiceCentral Black Swan?
- How do I remove VoiceCentral Black Swan from my iPhone or iPod touch?
- How much does it cost?
- Why should I upgrade to Premium?
- Isn't Google Voice a "free" service?
- I already registered as a Free user. How can I upgrade to a Premium Subscription?
- I'm not sure if I will like the Premium version. Is there a trial period?
- I've been using the Premium version and it's great, but can I go back to the Free version?
What is VoiceCentral Black Swan?
VoiceCentral Black Swan is a blend of the latest technologies that allow us to re-release our popular VoiceCentral application that was unceremoniously pulled from the App Store. To read more about what happened after Apple rejected the Google Voice app(s) and the ensuing FCC investigation, see the following:
- There's No App for That
- Hey Apple, One More Thing...
- Apple Responds to the FCC with Illogical Arguments
Our vision was to not only bring VoiceCentral back but also to continue our push into new technologies and new platforms.Back to Top
How does VoiceCentral Black Swan work?
Why do you use this middleware layer instead of going directly to Google Voice?
Browser security limitations do not allow for cross domain scripting. Since VoiceCentral Black Swan is hosted on a different domain than Google Voice, it cannot communicate with Google Voice directly. Cross domain scripting is considered a security risk that all browsers prevent.
Now, some of you savvy users are saying, "there are ways around this" and surely there are, but we found none as elegant as our middleware. An additional benefit here is that since the middleware does most of the data parsing, the response time of the application over any connection (including EDGE) is much faster.
The important thing to note here is that your Google Voice data is never stored by the middleware, so we do not hold on to your information beyond your use of the application. It is just a proxy between the iPhone and Google Voice.Back to Top
When compared to the native VoiceCentral app, are there limitations to VoiceCentral Black Swan?
Google Voice is a cloud-based service that requires a connection for full functionality, so there is no disadvantage when using a weblication instead of a native app in that respect. There are a couple of limitations in VoiceCentral Black Swan right now:
- Currently, weblications cannot access the iPhone's contacts. However, Black Swan can import your Google contacts to provide similar functionality.
- The earpiece cannot be accessed by the app, so voicemails play through the speaker or the headphone jack.
There are also some very great benefits to VoiceCentral Black Swan:
- It works independently from Apple's broken app review process.
- You receive immediate upgrades without having to check for available updates in iTunes.
- Faster performance since most of the processing occurs on the server side.
Why can't I see my contacts' names in my list of calls or voicemails?
At present, Apple does not allow weblications to access the iPhone's contacts (for name/number lookup). So unless you have your contacts imported into Google Voice, you will not get contact name matching.
Google Voice supports a variety of import options:
- Use iTunes to sync your iPhone contacts with your Google Voice account.
- Use the import functionality built into Google Voice.
- Use ActiveSync to sync your contacts and calendar with Google Voice.
How are contacts synced?
Contacts are synced using Google's Contact API and currently only in one direction (i.e. download from Google). We sync the first name, last name, Prefix, Suffix, contact image (if you are a Premium Subscriber), and all the phone numbers only. Contacts are only imported from the My Contacts group, and only when they have phone numbers.
Here are some guidelines to better explain the sync process:
- For Dr John Smith, where the Dr is not put in the title/prefix field, the name will display as Dr John Smith or Smith, Dr John and will be put in the "D" section if sorted by first name, not "J".
- For a contact that only has a full name, the last word is the last name and the rest is considered as the first name. So John and Jane Smith will be imported as Smith, John and Jane or John and Jane Smith.
- For a contact where the Title or the Suffix is not put into the correct field (i.e. is part of the name) then the import may not behave as expected but this should get fixed if the contact is fixed in Google. So, for example, John Smith PhD. may get imported as PhD., John Smith since PhD. is the last word.
Why does voicemail play only through the speaker or the headphone jack and not the earpiece?
The iPhone natively directs website audio through the external speaker, so currently the only option is to play the voicemail through your headphones. Since this is a weblication, we do not have access to other internal APIs. If Apple ever makes those available to Safari, then we will certainly add that feature.Back to Top
Can I delete items from VoiceCentral Black Swan?
Sure you can. It works just like a regular iPhone app using a swipe across the item you want to delete. We support deletion of calls, voicemails, and SMS conversations. Check our features page for a full list.Back to Top
How do I update my VoiceCentral account after changing my Google Voice e-mail address?
We do not currently have an automated way to synchronize your Google account and your VoiceCentral account. If you change the e-mail address on your Google account, then you will need to submit a trouble ticket to notify us of the change in order to log into VoiceCentral Black Swan using the new e-mail address. Please include your old e-mail address as well as your new e-mail address in the trouble ticket.Back to Top
Can I disable the prompt when dialing using my iPhone within VoiceCentral Black Swan?
Since VoiceCentral Black Swan is web based, the iPhone requires you to confirm all calls placed through the native phone app. This is for your protection to prevent web sites from automatically placing calls that result in charges on your phone bill.Back to Top
How do I remove VoiceCentral Black Swan from my iPhone or iPod touch?
- From the main screen on the iPhone or iPod touch, find and hold the VoiceCentral icon until the screen starts to wiggle and the X sign appears.
- Tap on the X sign and when prompted to Delete VoiceCentral, select Delete.
- Press the home button to return to the home screen.
- Launch the Settings app.
- Select Safari.
- Go to Databases.
- Tap the Edit button.
- Delete the VoiceCentral database by pressing the red icon.
- Hit Done.
- Optionally, click the Settings button, and select the Clear Cookies and Clear Cache buttons.
How much does it cost?
Nothing, if you want to use the free version! We polled our user base, and most wanted a free or an ad-supported version of the application. Well, we say "ask and you shall receive," so we now have an ad-supported version of the application as well as a Premium Subscription that removes ads and includes more features. For a limited time, you can purchase a Premium Subscription for just $6/year—that's only 50 cents/month! To learn more, visit our features page.Back to Top
Why should I upgrade to Premium?
That all depends on you and how you use Google Voice. The Free version provides all the basic features of Google Voice, so if you use it occasionally to place a call or check your messages, then you probably won't need a Premium Subscription. On the other hand, the Premium Subscription removes ads, allows you to access more of your Google Voice data including contact photos, and enables additional features such as the highly requested "Do Not Disturb" and Favorites. As a Premium subscriber, you are also entitled to support, while Free users are limited to the forums. To learn more, see the features page.Back to Top
Isn't Google Voice a "free" service?
While Google Voice is a free service by itself, we have invested considerable time and effort to bring the best Google Voice experience possible to the iPhone. In addition to costs already incurred, Google will bill us each month for the amount of data our users access above a certain combined limit. We also provide e-mail support to our Premium Subscribers, whereas Google refers all users to their online resources. Riverturn has added and will continue to add significant value to Google Voice on the iPhone.Back to Top
I already registered as a Free user. How can I upgrade to a Premium Subscription?
Upgrading is very easy. Just go to the registration page again, enter the same information as before, and choose the Premium Subscription option. After subscribing via Google Checkout or PayPal, the next time you launch the application, it will run in Premium mode with access to all the extras.Back to Top
I'm not sure if I will like the Premium version. Is there a trial period?
Sure there is. We want you to be a Premium Subscriber only if you feel it's worth it for you, and we all use Google Voice differently. Every Premium Subscription has a 7-day trial, so as long as you cancel within that time, your account will be immediately switched to the Free version and you will not be charged. If you prefer to avoid having to cancel within 7 days, sign up for the Free version first to try it out. You can always upgrade to a Premium Subscription at any time.Back to Top
I've been using the Premium version and it's great, but can I go back to the Free version?
But of course. We would love to hear why you want to switch, so please drop us a line before you cancel your subscription. To switch to the Free version, simply log into your Google Checkout or PayPal account and cancel your subscription from there.Back to Top