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Google iPhone Application roundup

Google iPhone launching pad

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

    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.

  • Google Voice

    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

    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

  • Google Mail

    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

    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.

  • Google Reader

    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.

Google Maps Australia to use Yellow Pages

In a move that is a win for the end user, Sensis and Google have signed a commercial agreement to allow users to find Yellow (previously known as Yellow Pages) business listings on Google Maps.

“The agreement means Yellow™ advertisers can now potentially be found by more customers than ever before. They can be found in our print and online directories, over the phone, in a growing range of satellite navigation devices, on mobile phones, on search engines and on online mapping sites, which now includes the popular Google Maps”

Currently Google Maps in Australia uses the True Local business listings. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it misses out on the businesses who traditionally list on Yellow Pages.

In Australia it is considered a must to list your business using Yellow Pages since these are printed yearly and a copy delivered to every household (being regionally specific). The businesses who already list will automatically gain the benefit and not be charged any additional fees to appear on Google maps. With the rise of mobile devices using Google maps, such as the iPhone, the end user and the business both benefit from on the spot, realtime, and often locational based business searches.

The use of the business listings commences in the first Quarter of 2009.

GMail hits the 6GB mark

Only 2 months ago I wrote that Gmail had hit 4GB, but it was still behind the main crowd (MSN, Yahoo, etc).
Well in time for the new year, they have finally hit the 6GB (not 6GiB yet!) limit. This was initially picked up by a number of bloggers including WikiGiz and BBCentral.
I’ve totally cutover to Gmail since they enabled IMAP and I figured out how to turn it on. Apple Mail now accesses gmail as my only mail account, and I get everything synced between the web interface and including read/unread, starred/flagged and the labels/folders.
With this very quick increase of 1GB per month over the last two months, who knows where they will go next.

read more | digg story

Whereis Australian Maps in BETA

For a long time I used google maps over the local provider, WhereiS (a Telstra/Sensis product). Even though google maps had less local content, WhereiS was so 1999 in its web design that it was unusable. Basic dragging of the maps which is now a staple of so many online map providers, was one of the basic missing pieces of functionality.

But recently they have updated their online maps, which can now be accessed as a Beta version.

While this is a good thing for local and businesses and content, in the time they took to bring this to market, google have already bought their Australian content “up to speed”. Is this too little too late from Sensis – or will the existing users who used the YellowPages and WhereiS content be happy for the improvement?

Try WhereiS maps BETA and judge for yourself.

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