As the iPhone continues to march across the globe, Google’s special (and slick) interface that was introduced in mid-December has been limited to English speakers. However, yesterday the company rolled it out to 33 countries in 16 languages, including Chinese–despite the fact the handset is not available through any Chinese carriers.
More importantly, Google continues to create special mobile variations of its other pages, which now includes Google News and support for users of Google Apps. Google Apps users can now check their mail using the same interface regular Gmail users have been enjoying, with the added benefit of being signed in to use the other mobile Google services.
The updated news viewer allows users to browse by the front page or by section, and features a built-in search tool. It’s still essentially a link repository to other third-party sites, but it’s now far easier to parse through on smaller screens than its original format.
What really makes the updated News page shine is that it integrates YouTube videos in the related stories. If there are videos for a selected subject, you can view them as thumbnails, which when clicked will jump you to the handset’s built-in YouTube viewer. Short of actually having Flash, this is the closest you’ll get to being able to casually watch Web videos while browsing other news networks. You could also use a conversion tool like vTap or Avot mV, but this new system requires one less step.
I still think most iPhone users will be inclined to use Safari’s built in-search tool, which can be set to use either Google or Yahoo without having to venture to a search page first. With the speed of EDGE, I often find myself skipping any unnecessary page load when it comes time to search on the go, something that won’t be fixed until the purported 3G version of the handset comes out later this year.