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Google unveils mobile search facelift for iPhones, Android

Google follows general search overhaul with changes for iPhone, Android smartphone users in U.S.

By Network World Staff, Network World
May 06, 2010 09:14 AM ET

Network World - A day after Google revamped its search results page, the company has revealed similar changes to the search results available to Android and iPhone smartphone users.

The most obvious change is a button to the left of the search box that opens an options menu listing categories such as "News," "Products," "Past 24 hours" and more. Clicking on those category links can further refine a search.

While it might initially look like the actual search results get sacrificed to show the menu listing, users can simply pan across the page to see the full search results.

Also read: 10 hot companies Google invests in

Google is promising to expand availability of its revised mobile search more smartphone platforms and locations (beyond the United States) in the weeks ahead.

The mobile search changes are part of an overall Google effort to present a more consistent search experience across all of its offerings. Google is headed toward a universal search approach that integrates text, images, video and other content into its results.

Google went through a lengthy testing process before making its latest changes, said Patrick Riley, Google's technical lead for Web search.

"We're definitely well aware that small changes we make can have a high impact on how people use the site," he said. "We're happy with the results based on all the different forms of testing we've done."

Naturally, Google's search engine changes aren't for everyone, with some suggesting the revised Google page looks too much like Microsoft's Bing and tries to do too much.

Google, however, is making its moves from a position of increasing strength. According to the latest market numbers, the company's share of the U.S. search market is actually on the rise, approaching nearly three quarters of searches, whereas rivals Yahoo and Bing are slipping a bit.

Other recent upgrades to the Google search offering include a virtual keyboard that enables users to search in 35 different languages.

And while Google still has catching up to do in the Web browser market, it also is powering ahead with newer, faster versions of Chrome, which Google is hoping more people will use to browse -- and search -- the Web.

Meanwhile, Google continues to invest in startups that could one day bolster its search and other products. The company has also started 2010 on a torrid M&A pace, snapping up 9 companies already, including Aardvark, a social search technology company.

IDG News Service contributed to this article.

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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