Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) might not be able to help its Android OEMs sell more tablets, but the company can certainly augment the search experience on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) popular iPad.
The company, whose search app for the iPad has been more like the desktop Google Web search experience than a genuine tablet app, has made its search app more visually pleasing and efficient on the larger mobile form factor. See it in action in this YouTube demo video and download it from Apple's App Store here.
Google said Web pages that users land on now load on a new, slide-in pane that will layer over the search results. iPad users can then slide the pane to the right to return to search results, and tap on any image result to use the new image carousel.
In another design change to suit the iPad's 9.7-inch display, the app lets users swipe right to view snapshots of pages they've visited and organized according to search terms.
After users select a result, they can tap the magnifying glass on the top right-hand corner to highlight the most relevant section of the page. A newly added +1 button next to the magnifying glass lets users recommend Web pages to other searchers, and users may share a post on Google+ within the slide-in pane.
Tap on an icon to quickly read an email in Gmail, or share a post on Google+ within the slide-in pane. When you slide the pane to the right, you'll be right back to searching.
The company also added Google Instant predictive search technology to accelerate the delivery of search results. And the company ported its Instant Previews to the app so users can quickly compare Web pages before they choose their result. These Instant additions follow the company's inclusion of Instant Pages, which pre-fetches Web pages, last August.
"Tapping on an icon in the top right of the screen brings you into a visual preview of the pages for your search result, easy to scroll through with the swipe of a finger," said Daniel Fish, a Google software engineer for the search app, in a blog post.
Providing a great search app for the iPad fulfills Google's need to have placement on the most popular mobile devices and platforms worldwide. At over 32 million units shipped and counting, the iPad certainly fits that bill. Ditto for the iPhone, for which Google just launched its native Gmail app last week.