Google gives iPad Search app more love

Google has re-introduced its Search app for the iPad, which is touted as more visual and interactive than before.

Google has re-introduced its Search app for the iPad, which is touted as more visual and interactive than before.

Google's nifty new side-by-side viewer puts results and pages right next to one another.
(Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Along with the usual performance and speed enhancements, some other Google products are also heavily integrated. The app now includes Google Instant, so that search results stream in as you type. Google's coupled this with its Instant Preview technology, giving users a quick look at a destination site without having to load it. These results show up in a string of previews, similar to what can be found with Google's overhauled image search carousel, the one that lets you swipe through images like you would music albums in Apple's Cover Flow view.

Google's new image carousel lets you flick through images on your iPad.
(Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

One other big change is in how Google now bundles pages you're on with the results, putting the two side by side. Microsoft attempted something similar with its Bing app for iPad earlier this year, and the result is effectively the same here. You can hop back and scan both pages without having to reload either one, which can be extremely handy.

Other noteworthy tweaks include the addition of a +1 button for sharing on social networks like Google's own Google+, as well as an on-page search tool, which lets you look up a word or phrase on any page you're viewing. This is something you can do on the built-in Safari browser using the search box, but it's not as apparent as Google's made it here.

Google also promises that services like Google News and Calendar are easier to find and operate within the new Apps menu.

Hopefully the update of this app, free to download from iTunes now, will go much more smoothly than the uneasy initial release of the Gmail app for the iPad and iPhone earlier this month.

However, much like the Gmail app, the Search app still looks like a glorified version of just using Google in a browser. Sure, there are definitely some visual enhancements that one comes to expect from iPad apps in general.

But it's still not really on par with the bounty of features and attractive graphics seen on Bing's app for the iPad. Nevertheless, this is still a move in the right direction and reflects that Google is taking building for iOS more seriously these days. It's taken aim at the stock Safari browser by offering an experience that's tuned in to users who want a desktop-like searching experience, but on their mobile device. Where Microsoft differs is in pitching its app as a content aggregator, whereas Google continues to position its app as a launch pad for its various properties. That's certainly not a bad thing in this case, where search and reading go hand in hand.

For a closer look at the new Google Search app for the iPad, check out the promo video below:

Via ZDNet and CNET

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