Google releases all-new search app for iPhone

By danwarne, March 16 2011
Google releases all-new search app for iPhone

Google has completely redone its search app for iPhone, changing its name from "Google Mobile" to "Google Search" and adding in features that bring it closer to the full web search experience.

It has a much wider range of functions than you'll find in the standard Google search box in the iPhone's Safari web browser, and some key improvements like tailoring your searches to your current location, presenting information on businesses nearby. 

Here's what the new version of the app looks like:

The key thing about the new app is that it has a focus on "one thumb" operation, with easy access to Google's excellent and highly accurate voice search, which makes it very easy to use while carrying a bag or doing something else.

There's also and the rather amazing search-by-taking-a-photo function, which recognises text in images, as well as imagery that Google already has in its database like logos, iconic buildings, wine labels, barcodes, etc and searches on that.

If you prefer the voice search function over the "Google Goggles" search-by-taking-a-photo function, you can disable the latter, leaving just the voice search button for absolutely reliable one-touch access. (The old app made it rather too easy to activate photo search mode by mistake.)

iPhone 3G and iPod Touch users can now do Google Goggles searches too -- previously, this was restricted to iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

Once search results are up, you can swipe to the right to display a menu that lets you narrow search results down to places, images, news, vidoes, blogs, discussions, and so on.

Search results are tailored around your current location in the app, too. Although standard Google search in Safari on the iPhone takes into account your general location, it's nowhere near as accurate as the Google Search app.

You can also log in to your Google account to take advantage of search history shared with your PC, which allows Google to fine-tune results based on what you've searched on in the past.

The app can also give you Google Calendar and Gmail unread message alerts (dubiously helpful though, considering the iPhone can sync its calendar to Google Calendar and email to Gmail.)

One thing that's conspicuously missing from the new Google Search app is "Google Instant" -- the feature that shows results as you type them. This is available in Google Search via Safari.

You can download the new version of Google Search for iPhone here: iTunes AU / iTunes US. (Note, at the time of writing, the Australian iTunes store was still calling the app Google Mobile, rather than its new name of Google Search, however the app you'll download definitely is the updated version.)

If you don't have an iPhone, there are versions of the Google Search app also available for BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows Phone and of course it's built in to Google's own Android phone software.

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