Google launches new Web app for iPhone users

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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.