Google will be updating their web search page so that it’s formatted to be finger-friendly when visited from Android 3.1 tablets or iPad. The new optimizations should make life easier when viewing in either portrait or landscape orientation. Tabs for different types of searches will be easily accessible, and images in particular should have their thumbnails load more quickly, and have smoother scrolling action.
I’m of a split mind when it comes to web optimizations like this. On the one hand, it’s great that tablet browsers are getting a tailor-built experience. On the other hand, wasn’t the whole point of tablets to be just as good as a desktop browser when it came to this sort of simple stuff? Don’t get me wrong, there are certain inalieable issues that will prevent tablets from becoming interchangable with standard computers, I just wish that as good as mobile browsers are becoming, folks would stop assuming that we’d be able to just drag and drop the web experience from the PC screen to the handheld. It’s going to take a while before the majority of pages are laid out in a way that keeps finger navigation in mind. Aside from just making icons and text larger, there are certain relics that won’t transfer particularly well, like mouseovers. The real question is, is it worth a web designer’s time to create a completely different touch version of their site, or worth sacrificing added functionality by eschewing mouseover behaviour? Should all site owners make apps instead? It’s a tough call, and one I’m glad I don’t have to make.
The Googl web search update is rolling out over 36 different languages over the next couple of days; hit up google.com on your tablet’s browser to see if it’s available for you yet.
[via Google Mobile Blog]