Todays post is a 2009 midyear round up of the status of the Google Mobile applications: Latitude, Voice, Docs, Mail, Maps and Reader. My focus is on the iPhone mobile platform.
Google Latitude is their location and status message product. The application up until now has been available on other phone platforms such as Android, but lacking on iPhone.
In the mean time, iPhone users have had to look elsewhere. There are other similar products that perform locational “check-ins” and integrate with services such as Twitter. Brightkite is an example of a well written locational application.
Google had actually written a Latitude application for iPhone, but it was rejected. Apple were concerned that it was too similar to the Maps app shipped with iPhone.
Google decided to go ahead and rewrite Latitude as a webapp for the iPhone. It was announced late July 2009, and can be accessed from the Google mobile home page or by using the Google Mobile application.
The recent controversy with the rejected Google Voice application hangs in the air. This week David Pogue (via Mashable) blogged about Google rewriting their rejected application as a webapp, much the same as Latitude now runs.
If they get this stood up, this will be the next step in the move from the old school to the new, being VOIP. With Skype possibly on the way out by 2010, Google may fill the void – albeit with many more functions than a simple VOIP application.
For the time being, there is no iPhone capability for Google Voice.
Google docs is currently accessible on the iPhone from Google as a mobile web application.
The current limitation with the mobile web application is that it is view only, and does not allow sharing of your documents. To perform all the functions you need to use a full browser
The iPhone has you covered when it comes to mail. You can either use the built in email application to access Gmail via IMAP, or access the mobile web Gmail. The mobile web Gmail is full featured, and makes use of iPhone/AJAX specific web features to give you an almost dedicated app like experience.
On the other hand, the benefit of using the built in Mail is offline reading/composing and excellent integration the the iPhone V3 cut/copy/paste features; even for photos and voice memos.
Google maps is one of the core applications of the iPhone and iPod line. It comes pre-installed from Apple. The quality of this application has increased with the current V3 firmware providing outstanding features.
There is no native application for Google reader. But don’t let this stop you. A couple of avenues are available.
The mobile web application for reader is as mature as Google’s mobile Gmail. It allows you to perform almost all the features that the full web based reader does, and it makes use of the iPhone safari features.
If you want something Application based – a new alternative is emerging. The NetNewsWire/FeedDaemon product suite is an RSS reader from NewsGator for the Mac/Windows platforms, respectively. They have a dedicated iPhone application that syncs with the desktop products. NewsGator recently announced that their Beta desktop products now sync with Google Reader, and that an update to their iPhone app is on the way. This solution will allow synchronisation of RSS feeds and unread item status across your Desktop and Google reader, but the dedicated iPhone app is not out yet. You can watch for their iPhone announcement from @newsgator on Twitter, or at their blog.
You can download the Google Mobile application from the iTunes store.