Google has quietly launched a brand new interface for visitors accessing the site with an Apple iPhone. At first they didn’t make any announcements or press releases; it kind of just appeared suddenly on Tuesday of this week. But early Wednesday morning the search giant made it official, issuing a statement on the new application’s release.
If you have an iPhone and access google.com, it will automatically redirect you to google.com/m, which is the mobile version of the site that can be accessed with any mobile device.
However, they’ve apparently also set up something that detects that you’re accessing it with an iPhone, and serve up a special iPhone-optimized mobile version of the site. Non- iPhone users accessing Google mobile won’t get this special interface.
Now, instead of the standard Google mobile site, you’re presented with a sleek menu of services to choose from running across the top of the site. There are buttons for Home, Gmail, Calendar, and “More”. Even if you’re using AT&T’s slow EDGE network to access the internet, and aren’t on a high-speed WiFi connection, clicking the various menu buttons loads up the corresponding pages almost instantly. I tested it both on EDGE and a WiFi network, and was extremely impressed with the speed. Clicking on the “More” button brings up other quickly accessible Google services, including Docs, GOOG-411, SMS, News, Photos, Blogger, and Notebook.
The new application is based off AJAX/Web 2.0 technology, and is launched only when an iPhone user visits Google:
“To accomplish this, Google is taking advantage of browser technologies (like AJAX) that made Gmail and Google Maps possible on the desktop. In supporting these advances in web technology, the iPhone’s Safari browser not only delivers an excellent mobile Internet experience; it enabled our product and engineering teams to create an optimal Google experience on a mobile device.”
Personally, I think this is a great enhancement. Although I use google.com frequently on my iPhone to conduct basic searches while on-the-go, I think having some of their other services so instantly available at my fingertips might inspire me to use other features more often as well.