Well, Google proves once again that even as it appears that they might be prepared to take on a popular medium (iPhone) with their own, usually better take (Android), that they're still not leaving users of the old medium in the dark, a la Microsoft's usual strategy. Embracing the obvious success of the iPhone while developing your own bigger and better OS can only help you in the longer run. And this was probably done at fairly low cost. I'm just getting into the world of developing mobile apps, but basically all that needed to be engineered was to rewrite pages to detect the mobile Safari bowser on the iPhone and render the new iPhone specific interface when a user goes to www.google.com. Pretty simple if you've already been engineering pages for mobile. The only trick is just optimizing things to fit well in the screen space of the Safari browser. Apple has helped this a lot by designing a very elegant and comfortable web interface that transposes well for users who have been on traditional desktop/laptop browsers for years.
I don't have an iPhone myself (yet) however, I did have a friend show me the interface last night and I have to say that this thing looks good. It doesn't "miniaturize" the experience of google applications, it looks"google clean" and appears to provides the best features that most google users want (gmail, calendar, picassa, search). It will be interesting to observe if there will be some interesting hooks developed between Picassa and the iPhone photo application. An announcement at MacWorld today suggests that there is a "pseudo-GPS" feature now being brought to iPhone via googlemaps that was described as using triangulation [I thought that triangulation was how all GPS worked - measuring the distance between you and two satellites to establish your position on earth. Unless what they mean is by triangulation against two cell phone towers.... I don't know, but it's worth some investigation.]
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