Google continues to improve its mobile Gmail program, and the latest update is aimed at making it easier for Android and iPhone users to click on links.
The search giant is introducing a feature it calls "Smart Links," and this converts certain long, raw links into named links. In a blog post, the company used a long Google Maps URL as an example, and Smart Links turned it into a much shorter link that shows the actual address.
The link-shortening service is currently only available for links from Google Maps address queries, Google Maps directions, Google Sites Web pages, and YouTube videos. The search giant said it will roll out support for other link types like Google Docs, as well as non-Google Web properties.
The service is available now for U.S. Android and iPhone or iPod Touch users with OS 2.2.1 or above. The simultaneous release could signal a shift in how Google approaches its mobile strategy. Initially, the company would bring out things like voice-powered search to the iPhone first because its customers use the mobile Web more than any other smartphone user.
The Google-backed Android has been picking up steam lately, as Google expects up to 20 handsets to be released this year with the Linux-backed operating system. While some of these will be from unknown manufacturers, big players like Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and Sony Ericsson are likely to have Android-powered handsets by the end of the year. Additionally, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless have said Android is ready for prime time.
What's Google's secret to success? InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).