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Google launches new Web app for iPhone users

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Continuing its push towards omnipresence, Google Inc. on Wednesday announced the release of a new iPhone application that integrates its multiple services into a single interface, making it easy for iPhone users to find, use and switch between Google search, Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and other services.

To access the application, iPhone users need simply to point their web browser to Google's home page, which automatically detects the Apple handset and Safari as the client browser, rendering the new application in place of the search giant's traditional start page.

In building the new application, Google made use of cutting edge browser technologies (like AJAX) that have made its Gmail and Google Maps services possible and popular on traditional computer platforms.

In supporting these advances in web technology, the iPhone's Safari browser not only delivers an excellent mobile Internet experience; it enabled the Google product and engineering teams to create an optimal experience on a mobile device, the company said.

After developing a prototype of the new app several weeks ago, Google mobile software engineer Steve Kanefsky began showing off his concept to colleagues.

"After that, things started moving pretty quickly," he said. "A few weeks (and a few gallons of mint tea) later, I had an improved version which Googlers throughout the company were using on their iPhones (it works great on the iPod Touch too)."

Google's new iPhone-specific start page and integrated application suite.

While announcing the new iPhone app on Wednesday, Google reiterated that its overall goal is to provide users with access to information -- wherever they are -- as part of its commitment to device-independent mobile technologies that are faster, easier to use, and available on more devices.

Another recent example of such technology came last week when Google introduced a new version of Google Maps that included a function dubbed My Location. The mobile feature shows handheld users their location directly on the map without the need for GPS hardware.

Google also offers a wide range of other mobile products and services on its mobile website.
post #2 of 15
Other than making Google Mail easier to use for iPod Touch users, it is not clear to me what the big advantage is (esp. for iPhone users).
post #3 of 15
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Other than making Google Mail easier to use for iPod Touch users, it is not clear to me what the big advantage is (esp. for iPhone users).

ArsTechnica did a better, more descriptive piece explaining the big advantage: speed. Switching between Gmail, reader, whatever is instantaneous. Basically, everything is downloaded to the phone, and only the data is transmitted back and forth. So if you're using it over EDGE, it's a much more pleasurable experience.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

post #4 of 15
Using gmail through google/mobile I can't seem to zoom in and out anymore. Anyone notice this?

edit: ok I notice it automatically makes the email fits perfectly in the screen. But it does not work with html emails like the NY Times. So zooming would be nice there.
post #5 of 15
I wouldn't have much use for it myself, but it is cool.
post #6 of 15
double post, darn
post #7 of 15
Tried it. It is pretty cool, but it's lacking and really not practical for us iPhone users. Couple observations:

1. To get Google Suggestions when doing a Google Search, you need to touch the text box (which brings up the iPhone keyboard), type some text, and touch the "Done" button (which removes the iPhone keyboard), and only THEN will you see the Google Suggestions. Not as user friendly as Google Suggestions normally is, displaying an updated dropdown suggestion list as the user types.

2. I don't want to log in each time I want to check my GMail. That sucks. I tried the "Remember me" but it ironically didn't. I'll be sticking with Mail (IMAP GMail) for the simple pleasure of not having to log in to check my email as well as automatic "get mail" updates.

I think the only way GMail, Google Search, and any other Google app will really be effective on the iPhone is when Google develops naitive apps, come February when the SDK is available. Because you know they are!
post #8 of 15
On the old Google mobile; pre this release when you would search for a business; for example Apple you would get a list of all of the Apple stores in your area, with the addresses and phone numbers of each. If you clicked a business name the UI would launch into Google Maps and would illustrate the location of the business. This was great functionality. You could click on the phone number and call the business or click on it's name to pull it up a map.

Using the new Mobile and UI the phone dial up link works but the mapping function does not which stinks.

Does anyone know if this is a bug or the way the new mobile is going to work for the I-Phone?

I miss the old Mobile Local already!
post #9 of 15
Right off the bat I'm seeing some bugs with it.
Go to 'More' tab, click 'Maps', and you're given a duplicate tab row. Adds a row each time you do this.
Also doesn't seem to support zoom... a pain since the text is tiny.

And as stated, you can't seem to save login/pw, and typing an email address is a real pain, having to jump between special characters multiple times.

Why can't mobile Safari remember login/pw info?

Kinda nice, but needs a lot of work.
post #10 of 15
I tried getting the new Google pages to work on my iPhone. Unfortunately, the on screen keyboard decided to take a magic carpet ride:

post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by hanabi

post #12 of 15
Yeah, Google's latest iPhone "streamlining" is extremely buggy. If you want to glance at summaries of feeds through the reader, everything looks fine, but I usually leave the reader to visit the original site when I think comments are worth browsing -- this typically works elegantly on a regular desktop or laptop as another tab or window is opened.

In the latest version of Reader on the IPhone, leaving the reader puts you in a window that isn't properly sized for the iPhone, and that has all sorts of rendering errors on the subsequent webpages. I mean, it's a real mess...you can't resize text and graphics, everything overlaps, it's like web browsing goes to hell in Googleworld on the iPhone.

Hope they fix all this in the next update. The floating keyboard in the previous posts is pretty funny and all too symbolic about how screwed up this iteration of Google apps is.
post #13 of 15
I wasn't sure if it was just the iPhone misbehaving in general or specifically a result of the google pages.

Only had the phone since Sunday. Don't want to go off topic too much as the story is about the Google page, but I must say that I cannot envisage myself going back to an ordinary mobile phone with a keypad.
post #14 of 15
The iPhone really made a solid footprint in people's consciousness. I don't remember developers optimizing their sites for Safari or Macs.. but now they're optimizing them for iPhone. That's really cool.
post #15 of 15
Does Docs work on this? Or does it work if you go directly to the page via Safari?

That would mean having a pretty full-fledged word processor in pocket...and a big incentive for me to get one...

...Just thinking of the possibilities...
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