Google Is the Default Search Engine for Apple's iPad

Google April 2 staked its claim in Apple's iPad sweepstakes by augmenting its HTML5-based Gmail for mobile Web application for the iPad and revealing that it is the default search engine for the tablet. Also built into the iPad is a Google YouTube app to let iPad users watch high-definition video content. A new Google Maps app on iPad provides users high-resolution satellite and Street View imagery.

Apple may be mulling a swap of Google for Microsoft Bing on its iPhone, but Google April 2 said it is the default search engine for Apple's iPad, which will also run YouTube, Google Maps and a Gmail application tailored for the iPad.

Just as with Mac computers and the iPhone, Google will sit in the top right corner of Apple's Safari Web browser on the iPad, said Punit Soni, product manager for Google Mobile, in a blog post.

Also built into the iPad is a Google YouTube app to let iPad users watch high-definition video content. A new Google Maps app on iPad provides users with high-resolution satellite and Street View imagery.

For users who want to access their Gmail on the iPad, Google has also created an experimental user interface built on the HTML5-based Gmail for mobile Web app the company launched last April for the iPhone and Android devices.

This app, geared for faster e-mail, Web navigation and searches, provides a unique palette for programmers accustomed to writing applications for a PC, laptop or smartphone.

iPad users who go to in their Web browser will see their e-mail content rendered in two panes to accommodate the larger iPad screen. Conversations are rendered on the left pane, with messages on the right pane.

"Those devices have large screens compared to other phones, and tablets like the iPad give us even more room to innovate," Soni said.

Soni said users should add a home screen link for easy access. Users may also access Gmail on the iPad through the native Mail app using the IMAP protocol. Lifehacker explains how desktop users can access the two-pane view here.

Given Google and Apple's increasingly chilly relations, many industry watchers questioned whether or not Apple would play nice with Google applications on the iPad.

After all, Apple already notoriously rejected Google Latitude and Google Voice as native applications for the iPhone. Since iPad runs an extended version of the iPhone OS, why would anyone expect Apple to get cozy with Google Apps?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Apple CEO Steve Jobs just had coffee together last week, so all must be well, right?

Soni's post proves Apple and Google are clearly simpatico on some apps for the iPad.

Soni also said users may still go to the App Store to download Google Mobile App with search by voice, which was originally designed for the iPhone's screen dimensions, "but we've adapted it to work on the iPad and we're looking into new ideas to make the app even better."

However, Soni did warn iPad users that they may sometimes see the desktop user interface and see the mobile interface other times. Google evaluated each Web app using the iPad Simulator, so it is pretty much taking an educated guess at what interface works best.

"We're particularly excited by how tablet computers create the opportunity for new kinds of user interaction. Here on the mobile team, we often talk about how mobile devices are sensor-rich: They can sense touch through their screens, see with a camera, hear through a microphone, and they know where they are with GPS. The same holds true for tablet computers, and we're just starting to work through how our products can become even better on devices like the iPad."

This time next year, it's quite possible Google will be talking about tablets based on its own Chrome Operating System. In the meantime, users will have to enjoy Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps on Apple's platform.

Read more about this Gmail for iPad app on TechMeme here. Meanwhile, Apple's iPad is hours away from hitting the hands of users who preordered it, but the ballyhooed tablet already has quite the long tail of supporting applications.