Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Google on the iPhone: Fast and Fluid

e all know that using the web on mobile phones can be a challenge sometimes. Compared to our personal computers, the screens are smaller, it's more difficult to navigate and enter text, the network connections are slower, and the browsers lack many of the features we've become accustomed to. I deal with this every day as both a developer and a user of mobile web applications. So you can imagine how excited I was when the iPhone launched with a large touch screen, Wi-Fi, and a full-blown Safari web browser!

I started thinking about how to use AJAX technology to improve Google on the iPhone. I set out to create an application that would preload my favorite Google products and allow me to switch between them instantly. I wanted web results as well as image, local, and news results without having to repeat my search. I wanted to check Gmail and my news feeds in Google Reader without having to load a new page every time. I also wanted Google Suggest to save me time typing queries on the virtual keyboard.

I created a prototype and showed it to some fellow Googlers. After that, things started moving pretty quickly. 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). Now we want to share it with everyone.

Our guiding principles were "fast" and "fluid." We think we've achieved both, thanks to some AJAX magic made possible by the iPhone's Safari browser. To try it out, just go to on your iPhone.

We want to know what you think! You can post your comments below or submit specific questions on our discussion board. We hope you'll like it.

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