Google updates iPhone interface, but still has room for improvement

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GooglegmailGoogle is among the first to make a MacWorld-related announcement; the iPhone interface that they introduced last month gets a facelift today. I don’t see the changes yet in Safari, but that should be a matter of time as they propagate through. Some of the highlights:

  • User interface improvements; again, I can’t speak to these just yet since I haven’t seen them.
  • Customization of the tabs. Huzzah! Sounds like you can pick and choose which Google apps you want on your mini home page. I always wanted to add Google Docs in lieu of Gmail; I don’t need a Gmail tab since I’ve got my iPhone Mail app configured to use Gmail’s IMAP service.
  • Faster Gmail and Calendar, with a new month view in the Calendar.
  • iGoogle support. One of our jkOTR readers, Rob, sent me this info over the weekend, but I didn’t get time to play with it… too busy doing CES laundry. ;)

So what’s missing, in my opinion? I’m still hoping we’ll see the ability to edit Google Docs. I have no desire to write a lengthy feature story right on my iPhone, but I’d like to make an edit or two every now and again. I do like the fact that I can create a note in Google Notebook right on my phone, but is it too much to ask to have the ability to edit a note?Before I forget: some folks don’t want to view a mobile version of Google; be sure to look at the bottom of the web pages. You should see a link for the Classic version as well as this Mobile version.

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Kevin C. Tofel

I just saw the updated interface and while it’s nice to customize the tabs, you still only get three. Even worse: if you remove Gmail from one of the tabs like I did, you’d think you could click the More tab to see it. Nope, it’s the same features under More that were there before, i.e.: Notebook, Docs, Maps, etc… The only way to get to Gmail (or Calendar or Reader for that matter) is to add them back to the tabs like they were originally. Not overly intuitive, but should be easy for Google to fix.

Overall, it does feel faster and I like the monthly view in the Calendar. Come to think of it, it looks very similar to the native Calendar app on the iPhone.

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