Google's Windows 8 Search App Lets Users Bypass Browser

Google has built an app for the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system that lets users tap an app to access its services rather than obtaining them through a Web browser.

Google is helping users take advantage of the new capabilities in Microsoft’s Windows 8 by offering a free app that lets users access Google services through a dedicated app rather than through a Web browser.

The free app is available through the Windows 8 Store and puts many Google functions right on the user's screen on any device running the new Microsoft operating system, which will debut on Oct. 26.

By offering the app, Google is making it easier for interested users to directly access Google's many services, without having to use Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera or any other browsers. For Google, that's a big draw in a world where new technology and services competitors seem to spring up all the time, which threaten Google's many markets and user bases.

The app allows users to directly access Google services such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, YouTube, Google Voice, Google Reader, Google Maps, and Google Calendar, all from one place. Users can also perform Google searches within the app, as well as take advantage of services such as Google Voice Search, Image Search and more.

Mohamed Mansour, a Microsoft software engineer, wrote excitedly about the new Google app on his Google+ page, lauding it for its features and usability.

"Google releases Search for Windows 8, and it is really good!," wrote Mansour. "I was searching the Windows 8 store, and I found Google Search app on it. So far, it looks beautiful, the animations, the voice control (it has Google Now baked in). When you search for something, it won't leave the Google experience in a separate page and it keeps track of your history. Pretty good for research."

The new Google app for Windows 8 is just one of many similar products that the search giant has been working on lately as it strives to stay abreast with competitors and their products.

Earlier in October, some early fuzzy images of the fledgling Google Maps App for Apple's iOS 6 were leaked, giving interested users some hints about what the app will eventually look like when it is finally released in the future.

Google's rumored Maps App for iOS 6 has taken on a lot of interest since Apple's new Maps App in iOS 6 debuted in September to vocal criticism from users.

After Apple's new iOS 6 operating system became available for download Sept. 19, many users around the world began taking to the Internet to loudly vent their frustrations about the loss of Google Maps in the company's new mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

The problems and complaints regarding iOS 6 even inspired Apple CEO Tim Cook to apologize publicly for the lackluster performance of Apple's Maps service, which replaced Google Maps in the iOS system.

In September, Google released its standalone YouTube player app for Apple's iPhones and iPod Touch devices so that users can continue to watch videos on their devices since Apple dropped native YouTube capabilities from iOS 6.

In August, Google responded to its growing friction with Apple by announcing a version of Google Voice Search for iOS, complete with Google's own version of Apple's Siri voice-recognition system. The Google Voice Search service, which had already been available to Android users, allows users to get an answer by verbally asking a question through a user's Android device, just like Siri does for iOS users.

In the meantime, Google has also been pumping up its mobile Google Maps offerings by, for the first time, making images from its Street View image library visible on mobile browsers. The images are visible through a mobile Web browser—not yet through a standalone app—whether mobile users are running Google's Android or Apple's iOS 6 or earlier systems.