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Google's iOS search app gets push notifications

Ever wanted to get a push notification on your iPhone when you've got a new e-mail or Google calendar event? That's now an option through Google's mobile search app.

Google Mobile logo

It's not quite the solution iPhone users might have been expecting, but Google has brought yet another way to get push e-mail on the iPhone. Kind of.

Users with the company's Google Mobile search app installed will now find an option to receive push notifications for new e-mails or calendar events within the app's settings menu, along with a very neat option to enable them only for certain parts of the day. This is a particularly useful feature if you want to keep your phone from buzzing or beeping during the times when you're usually asleep.

New messages or calendar events come through as push notifications that link to either the Gmail or Google Calendar mobile Web site. In that regard, these notifications differ quite a bit from Apple's built-in mail and calendar account integration and alerts system, since you can receive them without setting up that particular Google account on your device.

The feature can only be enabled for one Google account at a time, though users can add several log-ins, and choose which one will receive the notifications.

The new Push settings panels within the Google App. Screenshots by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

One thing this still does not bring is true push e-mail through the native e-mail application, which many users might have been hoping to get without having to use the company's Google Sync service (which can disable contact and calendar data back-up in iTunes). Push delivers messages to your phone as soon as they are sent, which can be useful if you're using your phone for business, or would simply like to pull in new e-mail sooner than the "every 15 minutes" setting. Though at least with this new system, you can get a quick preview of that message or calendar event/alert, and hop to it in Safari.

The new feature is already live within Google's mobile app, though we have yet to receive a working notification. If you don't yet see it enabled, try uninstalling, then reinstalling the app.