Google picks iPhone for launch of new mobile app

iPhone's browser capabilities make it the first choice over smartphone rivals Nokia and BlackBerry for single Google navigation bar

Google released today an iPhone application that puts Google's numerous services into a single interface on a navigation toolbar. Over time, the application will be available for other mobile devices, said Gummi Hafsteinsson, a product manager with the Google mobile team.

The application will give iPhone users the ability to switch between such Google services as search, Gmail, Calendar, and Reader by clicking on the navigation bar at the top.

The question of why Google chose to launch on the iPhone first appears to have more to do with technology than with market size potential. Because the application is given away free, Google has more freedom in selecting which markets it wants to play in first, not having to worry about market size and potential customer base.

A bigger market exists among Nokia phone users running the Symbian operating system and Nokia's proprietary browser, or for the BlackBerry market. However, Hafsteinsson said that the iPhone technology rather than market potential played a significant role in making the launch decision.  

"The Safari browser on the iPhone is essentially the same as Mac OS X, so in many ways, you get the same capability as on the desktop," said Hafsteinsson.

In addition, because Safari supports AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and HTML), which allows the system to fetch information in the background and enables the software to predict where the user will go next, it can prefetch information for the next step, making performance when switching between applications almost instantaneous, according to the iPhone product manager.

Nevertheless, Google is exploring other platforms, said Hafsteinsson.

iPhone users can go to Google.com to retrieve the application.

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