Google has released its updated search application for the iPad. At first, it looks innocent enough, but if you look more closely, it seems Google has managed to sneak in an entire set of Google services running within the native iPad application. Chrome OS on the iPad, anyone?
Google has relaunched its official Google Search application for the iPad. And while the native iOS app is primarily meant as an easy and convenient way for users to search for websites, images and other content from a native iPad application, it also ushers in a handful of new features.
Notable among these is the inclusion of various Google services, which can be run inside the native application itself. Aside from search, the app gives users access to Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, News, Google+, Reader, Maps, Photos, Translate, Voice, Finance, Books and Google brands such as YouTube and Blogger.
Google's native search app for the iPad comes with Google's cloud services
It's Gmail, But Not Gmail
Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web notes that Google's new search app includes Gmail, but is not at all like the recently relaunched native Gmail app for iOS, which is basically an iOS application wrapped around the HTML5 mobile web edition of Gmail. The iPad search application has a quicker, more responsive feel to it, which doesn't make users feel like simply using mobile Safari to run the app.
But even beyond the user experience and user interface novelty, the new Search application opens discussion to the possibility that Google might want to bring in a whole slew of applications within its iPad app. It makes sense. Apple is already trying to reduce dependence on Google services. And with the iPad already dominating worldwide web traffic from tablet computers and accounting for about two-thirds of mobile Google searches, Google wants to ensure it remains relevant in this market -- one where its own Android platform is not performing so well.
And so the new Google iPad app brings in Google's own cloud-based services, which can make up the entire user experience on the tablet, from email to docs to social networking and more.
Google's Take On Siri For the iPad?
Even more than sneaking a Chrome OS wannabe into the iPad, Google might be doing iPad users a favor, with Voice Search. Apple maintains that its intelligent speech-driven personal assistant Siri is an iPhone 4S exclusive for now. Voice Search has nowhere near the convenience and wit that Siri can offer, although it's a good start for iPad and iPad 2 users who want to be able to search for information through spoken words.
Google has aptly named the app "Google," and not specifically "Google Search," which implies that the search company intended to give the app more capabilities than just search. Google might be planning to dominate the tablet market, if not in terms of the platform, but rather in the services.