Google hones its iPhone sites, again; offline iPhone apps coming?

Google hones its iPhone sites, again; offline iPhone apps coming?

Google has once again revised its Web-based tools -- including Picasa, general search, Gmail, Reader, Calendar, and iGoogle -- for the iPhone. Navigating to on an iPhone will lead you to, a portal for access to all the tools. Among the enhancements, per Google's official announcement:

  • Improved UI: "The applications look and feel slicker, and they are easier to activate, navigate and use via a touch-screen."
  • Customization of default tabs: "Now Google users can have easy access to their favorite applications by customizing the applications that appear on the menu bar. Users simply choose their favorite Google applications to bring them to the front menu, ensuring that they'll be close at hand whenever they're needed."
  • Speedier Gmail: "New emails will automatically show up so there's no need to manually refresh inboxes. And the new auto-complete feature for contacts makes composing emails faster than ever."
  • Speedier Calendar: "With our new month view, users can glance at an entire month of appointments."
  • iGoogle: "Now Google users can access their iGoogle gadgets on the iPhone. Everything they've customized on their iGoogle homepage including weather, stocks, and news feeds now appear on their iPhones. To go to iGoogle, simply click on the iGoogle link on the Home tab. You can customize your iGoogle page on your computer at"

Revealing that some Google apps might soon work offline on the iPhone, our sister site CNET posted an interview with Vic Gundotra, vice president of mobile and developer at Google, reporting:

"What's next? Will more Google apps join YouTube and Google Maps on the iPhone's home screen that shows up when the device is first turned on? Gundotra smiles mischievously. 'One thing that bothers me is that (mobile) apps don't work offline, he says when prodded."

As previously reported, forthcoming iPhone firmware/software 1.1.3 update will sport the ability to add Web page bookmarks to the home screen as launchable icons. As such, users could create Google calendar, Picasa, etc. icons for easy access. The Web tools still wouldn't be accessible offline, however.


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