Google tidies up iPhone apps for Macworld

Showing what's possible online

Google_SM

As the Macworld show starts in San Francisco Google has speeded up its iPhone applications, as well as improving its customised homepages and providing quick links to users' favourite Google applications.

Google has long endorsed the idea of online applications, and until the iPhone SDK becomes available (due in February) the only officially-approved way to access applications is online. So the combination should be compelling.

On Christmas Day Google saw more hits from iPhones than any other device. This was widely heralded as proof that the iPhone offers the most compelling browsing experience, though that's more accurately attributed to the fact that Google is pre-loaded as a bookmark on the iPhone. Still, it's hard to dispute that iPhone users are averaging more browsing time than their Nokia-toting counterparts.

Those who do visit Google from an iPhone, or an iPod Touch, are getting their personalised version of the portal, iGoogle - though when we tried it not all the widgets were working properly.

Other improvements include faster Gmail and calendar applications, as well as customisation and a general tidy-up of the interface.

Next month Google's online applications will have to face competition from native applications running on the iPhone, which could offer capabilities impossible for Google to compete with such as integration with native applications including the phone itself. So the enhancements are timely. ®

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