Google announced via its Mobile Blog that the "experimental user interface" is based on the HTML5 Web application released last year for the iPhone and Android devices. But the new iPad-specific layout is designed to take advantage of the 9.7-inch display on Apple's new hardware.
Google has created a two-pane view that offers a list of conversations to the left, and messages on the right. Users can access the new Gmail by going to gmail.com in Safari browser on the iPad. Mail sent to a Gmail account can also be accessed through the default Mail application included on all iPads.
Other Web applications from Google that have not been optimized for the iPad will default to either the desktop or mobile offerings, based on what the search giant feels works best on the display.
"As you use Googles web-based applications on iPad, youll notice that you sometimes see the desktop user interface and other times you see the mobile interface," Google Mobile Product Manager Punit Soni wrote on the official blog. "Weve evaluated the behavior of each Google web app using the iPad Simulator, and we are serving the interface we feel works best. If youd like any help using our products on iPad, please click the 'Help' link within the product."
The company also noted that its popular Google Mobile App with voice search has been "adapted" to work on the iPad. The company is also looking for ideas to improve the software.
In addition, the built-in YouTube application offers HD videos and allows users to read and write comments, and the new Maps application takes advantage of high-resolution satellite and Street View images. It also includes a new terrain view, and allows users to search for local businesses and get directions.
Gmail joins a growing number of Web sites that have created new, iPad-specific designs for the iPad. This week, Apple added a section to its iPad Web site to highlight iPad-ready, Adobe Flash-free Web sites, including CNN, Reuters, The New York Times, Major League Baseball, Vimeo, The White House, Virgin America, Flickr, and Sports Illustrated.