Google comes to the iPhone
A simple application designed to make both online and offline searching easier, Google's Mobile App is basically a shortcut to the world of Google. While some may consider it a fancy search bar in an application, the ability to make a location-based search is an excellent feature.
- Simple interface, search suggestions, location-based search
- Very basic, doesn’t integrate with other Google applications
Google Mobile App is a simple search tool that relies on Safari for most of its work. If you regularly use Google when you are out and about, then this may be worth a look, but for most iPhone users, simply searching Google via Safari will suffice.
The Google Mobile App is as simple as they come and features a single text box to search. Aside from this box, there is a settings menu that allows you to edit your searchable items, and a shortcut menu to other Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Gtalk. Unfortunately, these features aren't integrated into the application itself and are just quick links — direct integration of these features into the application itself would make it an extremely powerful mobile tool. As an example, integration with Google calendar would be a well-received feature.
The main benefit of searching through the Google Mobile App rather than via Safari is the search suggestions that appear when typing. This helps narrow down results and also extends the search possibilities. For example, when typing "Man United" into the search box, a small bar below the results features a number of boxes that offer quick, extended searches such as ..news, ..fc, ..fixtures, and ..latest news. Tapping the ..news box, for example, will change your search to "man united news" without actually having to type the whole phrase.
Conveniently, as you use the application, it remembers heavily searched items and places these as the first results if similar searches are conducted. You can also search your history and there are a number of privacy settings that can be adjusted, including turning on and off the ability to search for contacts and previous searches, as well as the ability to turn on and off suggested searches as you are typing.
However, undoubtedly the best feature of Google Mobile App is the location-based searching. Employing the iPhone's GPS capabilities, searching for items like "coffee" or "pizza" brings up a location-based search result — for example "search for pizza near me". Tapping this result opens Google Maps and conveniently displays the nearest pizza restaurants. Keep in mind that although Google Mobile App is available on an iPod touch running the latest 2.0 firmware, the location-based search won't work as the touch doesn't feature GPS.
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