Google has retooled its free iPhone app with a new name, a streamlined look and feel, and an easier way to narrow your search results, helping the mobile app work more like the Web site.
With its name changed from Google Mobile App to simply Google Search, the revised app launched yesterday for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Right off the bat, Google users will notice that the screen resembles the one found on Google's Web page with a simple field in which you can type your query. Tapping a microphone icon lets you speak your query, while a camera icon lets you search for products and other items by snapping their photos.
In response to your query Google displays the familiar search results page, but with a twist.
Swiping your finger from left to right displays a sidebar on the left with options to filter your search by certain categories, including images, videos, news, blogs, places, and shopping. Tapping any category displays just those specific results. Swiping down on the search results page brings back the search screen. And when you close down the app, Google automatically displays your last query and search results just in case you need to see them again.
Beyond the tweaks to its basic search feature, Google Search now offers quick access to other Google Apps. An Apps button at the bottom displays a list of other Google tools, such as Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Maps, and YouTube.
An icon at the top of the screen lets you view and change the settings for the app and for your Google account. And a question mark icon on the left explains visually which features are new or improved. A Google blog posted yesterday also shares a few details about the enhancements to the app.
Google has been battling with Microsoft's Bing for the hearts and minds of iPhone users. Thoughlast year as a search option for mobile Safari, Google is still the default provider, requiring you to manually change the setting to Bing if you prefer.