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Google Nexus One update brings multi-touch and fixes 3G problems

Google Nexus One owners are in for a treat this week with an update to their Android OS that brings multi-touch zooming, new Google Maps features and 3G fixes

The Google Nexus One is sending us into a feeling frenzy this week thanks to a software update that adds multi-touch, letting you pinch your fingers against the screen to zoom in and out, in the Web browser, photo gallery and Google Maps applications.

This fixes one of our few complaints in our review of the Nexus One, and also addresses some troubles with 3G connectivity that some users have complained of, but we haven't experienced first-hand.

In a support forum post, a Google staffer said that Google engineers had "uncovered specific cases for which a software fix should improve connectivity to 3G for some users," but if users are having problems because they're on the edge or outside of the 3G coverage zone, the fix won't help.

The update also installs Google Goggles on the Nexus One, which lets you snap a photo to search Google. Goggles is already available on the Android Market, so presumably Google just really, really wants you to have it.

An update to Google Maps is also included, which synchronises your starred places from your desktop browser to the maps on on your Nexus One. It will also suggest searches based on your desktop browser history, and there's a night mode in Google Maps Navigation, which isn't available in the UK.

In its blog post, Google said the update will be rolled out automatically over the air to phones over the next week. We haven't got it yet, so our fantasy of multi-touch zooming in Google Maps in the image above is just an artist's impression.

In other Google Nexus news, you can now pick up a charging dock for your Android-powered pocket rocket. Putting your phone into the dock automatically kicks it into the clock app, so you can use it as a desktop alarm clock or digital photo frame. The desktop dock is $45 (£28) plus shipping, VAT and duty from the Google Phone online store.

Update: We updated our Nexus One manually, thanks to a tip from MobileCrunch, and gave the new multi-touch zoom a try. It's exceedingly whizzy, zooming into maps, images and Web pages at insane speed.

We found that some Web pages do not zoom, however -- the eBay mobile page, for example. Other pages formatted for phones, such as Wikipedia, respond to the pinch of a finger without any trouble, and we don't see this problem on our T-Mobile G1, which runs an older version of Android. To make matters worse, the eBay page doesn't give you the old option to zoom in by pressing an on-screen button either. It looks like Google still has some work to do to fine-tune this feature.