Christmas came early for some Apple iPhone users. Google Dec. 9 said the latest iteration of the Google Mobile App for iPhone was approved and is now available in the App Store.
The new version shows more results at once and opens Web pages from the results within the app, rather than making users jump to a separate Safari browser window. Google also made its Bells and Whistles visual settings-which let users color the Google Mobile App in red, taupe or even heliotrope-more visible.
Launched last year, Bells and Whistles was previously accessible for users of the Google Mobile App for iPhone by going to the Settings tab, scrolling to the bottom and swiping upward until the Bells and Whistles menu appeared.
Clicking into this menu let users change its color, enable monkey or chicken noises, select live waveform for when users talk, and open links in the app. Bells and Whistles is no longer hidden until users swipe.
"If you're on a faster iPhone, like the iPhone 3GS, you may want to try the live waveform setting, which turns on, as the name suggests, a moving waveform when you search by voice," said Google software engineer Alastair Tse.
iPhone users of the Google Mobile App can also make their search by voice more granular by choosing their accent. The app supports English, Mandarin and Japanese, but an Australian can improve the recognition accuracy by selecting Australian in the Voice Search settings.
The new app came two days after Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra unveiled several new mobile search perks at a Google search event.
These included the aforementioned Google search by voice in Japanese; What's Nearby, a location-based service in Google Maps for mobile 3.3 that lets users find nearby businesses; and Google Goggles, which lets users trigger Google search queries by taking pictures with their Android smartphone camera.
Goggles, which can be seen in pictures here, was easily the most significant of the mobile moves Google made at the event, and it worked well when tested by eWEEK on a Motorola Droid.
But one of the salient questions after the announcement was whether or not Google would hoard the app for Android or free it up for other smartphone platforms, including iPhone, Palm Web OS, RIM and Symbian.
A Google spokesperson told eWEEK:
""We are interested in bringing Goggles to a broad set of users, and it is our intention to quickly develop Goggles for the most popular mobile handsets and platforms. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.""
With more than 13 million iPhones sold and counting, Google Goggles on the iPhone could be a popular application, but it won't happen unless Google builds it and Apple blesses it.