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7/10/2008
03:26 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google Mobile Search App Debuts At iPhone App Store

Google is among the many developers introducing iPhone applications through Apple's iTunes App Store. On Thursday, the search company introduced Google Mobile App, a free dedicated search application for the iPhone.

Google is among the many developers introducing iPhone applications through Apple's iTunes App Store. On Thursday, the search company introduced Google Mobile App, a free dedicated search application for the iPhone.Given that iPhone users can already conduct Google searches through the search window in the iPhone's Safari mobile Web browser and through the Google Maps iPhone application that comes with the iPhone, the idea of a dedicated search app might seem like an overdose of Googley goodness.

But as Google mobile engineer Robert Hamilton explains in this YouTube video, the Google Mobile App makes a nice addition to the iPhone.

It's faster to initiate a search using the Google Mobile App than it is to open Safari and search on the iPhone.

What's more, the Google Mobile App provides search suggestions as soon as you start typing. Trivial though this may seem, it can be a real time saver to have searches auto-completed after only a few characters have been typed.

And Google Mobile App searches not only the Web but one's search history and iPhone Address Book contacts. Contacts found this way can be called with a single touch.

The search program also can conduct location-based searches. As the video demonstrates, simply searching for the word "Coffee" will return an option to "Search for 'Coffee' near me." Selecting this option will open Google Maps with search results marked by pushpins.

And in the spirit of self-promotion, Google Mobile App provides an "Explore Page" that provides easy access to other Google mobile applications like Gmail and Google News.

For the price (free), Google Mobile App is quite a deal. And seeing how useful it is, I have to wonder what Microsoft's mobile developers have been doing. Is there a single Microsoft app for the iPhone?

It's perhaps understandable that there might be some pouting in Redmond about Apple's flourishing iEmpire and Google's search dominance. But sitting out the launch of a major new software distribution channel like the iTunes App Store isn't merely pouting. It's unhealthy denial.

If Microsoft is serious about search, it would do well to get in the game, before Google owns mobile search, too.

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