The Google+ app for iPhone is designed fairly poorly, and the Gmail app is a complete disaster. Now it seems Google finally figured out how to develop a beautiful and functional iOS app. The company released Google Search for iPad today and it brings an incredible experience along with it.
When I first heard about the news of this native app, I automatically assumed I’d just prefer a web app instead since I do most of my searching in Safari. Boy, was I wrong. The new Google Search app pretty much tells Safari to go curl up in a corner somewhere. Upon launching the app, it looks rather ordinary with the standard search bar, history, applications menu, voice search, and Google Goggles. Start typing into Google Search, though, and you’ll realize just how great it is. Google Instant loads the results quickly, and tapping a result slides a Google Chrome-esque tab window in and loads the website.
Google took advantage of the iPad’s big display very well. When you search images, you can browse through a large carousel of results until the perfect one is showcased. Search History is also presented in a more visual fashion. Swipe left and right through screenshots of websites to find the one you’re looking for. It’s similar to tabbed browsing on the iPhone. It also groups websites, so if you visited more than one, they all appear under the specific search term.
My only gripe is that the list of Google Applications still opens a browser window and loads the mobile version. I’d really like to see native apps for these — especially Google Docs.
I’m very happy to report Google did a terrific job on the Google Search iPad app. It’s a great contribution to the major shift from web browser usage to app usage on mobile devices. Most of the visual aspects of the app are only available for iPad, but a smaller counterpart is available for iPhone and iPod touch users as well.