back to article Google kills iPhone-optimized iGoogle

Google has silently pulled the plug on its iGoogle website designed specifically for the iPhone, now unceremoniously redirecting traffic to its standard mobile version of the web portal instead. Until now, those who visited Google from an iPhone or iPod were treated to a version of iGoogle portal made just for the enormously …

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The good, the bad and the ugly

I do like the way this versions re-formats pages from other sites to be readable on the phone. (el reg, BBC news, etc.)

But the interface went from quick and easy access to all content in all tabs to a poorly organised subset of what I have on my non-mobile iGoogle.

They had something that worked just fine, why kill it? The better thing to do would have been to keep the old interface and merge it with the way google mobile mangles pages when you go to read an article.

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What? It works just fine for me

At least here in the US, iGoogle and all its related things (iReader in particular) are still working fine in all their iPhone-optimized glory.

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jai
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haven't used the site in months

personally, i never bother typing in google.com and then searching, i just type the words i'm searching for straight into the search field in Safari and then browse the results.

maybe they were measuring usage of the iphone only front page but most people bypass it. and really, there's no need for a mobile version - the google front page loads fast enough.

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gjw
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Must be column B then

Given the fact that you cannot really use the G-phone unless you're a Google faithfull, I guess it must be predominantly column B.

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Google for iPhone - Who cares?

The pages should be platform agnostic. Writing pages or code for the iPhone makes no sense and gives the iPhone an unfair advantage over other mobiles.

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Coat

And they expected what, exactly?

Different terms to everyone else, for Google to continue running a service at cost to themselves especially for them? Even more so when they've got their own hardware doing quite well - why would, or even why should they continue to do something special for a competitor?

Looking at that help message board makes me laugh though, they all believe they have a god given right to special treatment. It was nice while it lasted for them, it's time to move on.

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Good for Google

A device specific web page sucks, esp one with such a limited market. They should put the effort into making the one site the more compatible.

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Jobs Horns

Or maybe a little from column A and B. Who knows?

... who cares ?

Nope, thought not.

P.

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Happy

The gmail portal still seems to work ok??

Maybe it's not iPhone only?? It's the only way to read threads and go wide, because the default email app sucks.

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Anonymous Coward

A scrap between Google and Apple?

Where's the IT angle?

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Customised content should be drowned in a barrel, anyway

The decision is entirely commerccially driven, but the more that it starts to make commercial sense to simply design to open standards and, then make it beholden upon the device and software makers build towards those standards, the better.

What we can say, is that - since iPhone users represent a demographic, about whom, we could all probably make some fairly broad (but reasonably accurate) assumptions - it is more likely the fact that Google cannot accurately target those users, rather than the fact that they aren't worth targeting, that drives this decision.

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Jobs Horns

@gjw

"you cannot really use the G-phone unless you're a Google faithfull"

Do what? I'd love to have a G1, but t-mobile coverage is crap here in Brighton, and I'm not one of the "Google faithful" (just one 'l') - unless you're referring to those obscure cultists who like Google's search engine - I must put my hand up to that. The G1 appeals to me as a programmer because it's an open platform.

Ah. Maybe you were parodying Apple's control freakery. In which case I consider myself well and truly whooshed.

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Anonymous Coward

"all of the web"

Isn't the point of the iphone that you can use "all of the web (minus flash)"? I'll be honest, I can use Google just fine on my iphone thanks, regardless of whether they cut it down or not. Not sure what the fuss is.

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Happy

Blessed relief

Thank goodness - don't you just hate it when people do an 'iPhone' version of their website and then direct you there based on your User Agent string.

The iPhone has the best web browser on a mobile device bar none, it works GREAT with full size web sites and we don't need a smaller, special version just for iPhone.

Brill, I say - good on you google, and about time too!

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@Kenny

"The iPhone has the best web browser on a mobile device bar none"

I dunno. The old version of Opera Mobile was slow and clunky, but the new version I've been playing with recently is rather spiffing. I'm told by a reliable source that the new Opera Mini is similarly quick.

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Happy

@jai - snap

Same here, never even saw the thing cos there's a search box in Safari. And I have Gmail IMAP set up in Mail. So what was the point of it? We already have apps for Maps and Earth, and several 3rd party apps are being developed for Docs. So I'm guessing it was redundant anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Me too

I actually thought it was pretty funny too. The iPhone has one of the few browsers that handles normal web pages well, and people rush out to write iPhone versions of their site. If I were a web developer, and impressions were important to me, I'd have written a mobile version of my site years ago.

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Why should they?

The question isn't why Google stopped supporting it, instead ask why they should of continued to.

With so many high-res touchscreen phones around now there is no need to design a web-ui for individual models. Adding different versions, and with them more complexity to your product just because you have in the past is poor business logic.

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Black Helicopters

Other Google beta services

"Google has silently pulled the plug on its iGoogle website designed specifically for the iPhone" ... let me guess, it was a beta version? Wonder whether they will do the same for gmail and other beta apps.

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Linux

And so it begins...

The iPhone is now competition. Next goes Firefox, why fund that when you can build Chrome instead? Lets all watch as Google's empire grows, it becomes less open. Friendly old Google will soon be the new beast. Lock-in is the way to make money in computers, and until governments enforce anti-trust laws to a degree which we have not seen, technology will continue to be error-prone, incompatible, and just plain crap.

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Stop

Mostly still working

All the apps such as the reader, calendar etc are all still working, its just the actual iGoogle homepage thats been axed. Seems kinda odd to chop that but leave everything else working.

To the guy saying "who cares".. well obviously you do, you clicked on the link and read it!!

And to the AC who mentioned "all of the web"... the point is the iPhone version was BETTER than the standard one, not worse so think you kinda missed the point. The standard mobile pages look horrible on ANY phone.

Heres hoping that they leave the reader alone!!

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Paranoid Android

I don't buy Android as an explanation, in that Android's browser uses the same WebKit engine as the iPhone, and should be able to render the page in exactly the same way. It would have been easy enough to return this version to any modern standards compliant mobile browser, where the screen size was right, rather than it being iPhone specific.

As for customised content - while newer smartphones are capable of displaying real websites as standards intended, there is still a difference between designing for a 3" screen with a vertical orientation, a 17" screen with a 4:3 ratio, and indeed a 30" HD widescreen. I thought that this was one of the intentions in separating out CSS?

(i.e. that it allowed layout to be customised, rather than needing to develop customised sites).

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no mobile css?

shock horror google in non mobile css scandal..

They should never have needed a version for iphone in the first place. Cross platform and all that

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@Daniel, @Brent Gardner

"iPhone users represent a demographic, about whom, we could all probably make some fairly broad (but reasonably accurate) assumptions"

I'm an iPhone user but I'm not sure I would fit into your neat little world. Its a shame you've not expanded either on the demographic or the assumotions.

FYI I needed a phone with good multi-account email capabilities and a decent browser. I don't care that the device is locked to O2, I have a business contract. I don't care that the device isn't open. I don't care about the camera - I have a real camera for taking photos. As a software engineer I find the UI exceptionally good with one exception, most apps don't respond to tilting into landscape. And notes needs to synchronise with something to actually be useful.

As for dropping the iPhone specific stuff, I agree with the other sentiments expressed here, don't build device-specific sites. And lets face it, everything Google produces is in beta for years, plenty of opportunity to drop stuff whenever it feels like it.

Brient - I think Google is already bad, tweaking search results and hoodwinking advertisers. Yes I use the search engine, but that's about it.

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IT Angle

@Brent

Hear hear!!! Do no evil indeed! Do no evil, unless it has the potential to damage profit margins... Ain't capitalism great! I couldn't agree more.

As for the article, my view as an iPhone owner is, meh.

Can we have a bored icon please?

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Flame

Always with the anger

Isn't it amazing how the App-holes are always buzzing about like a bunch of unsatisfied, impotent little bees? Why did the poor Google employee have to "calm down infuriated users"? Listen up App-holes, lose the entitlement complex or stop wondering why people hate your smug, hate-filled selves so much.

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Why I didn't buy an iPhone

I was looking enviously at the iPhone,, but was incredulous that even the latest 3G version doesn't support video calling...... Perhaps I'm the only person on the planet who video calls frequently- when I'm away from home I love to videocall my wife- but its strangely absent from the iPhone. I had previously thought it was part of the 3G spec- given that most other manufacturers with 3G handsets support it, but not so, it would appear.

I bought a Samsung F700v(the o/s of which is quirky as hell, and I sure won't buy another)- because it had video calling- and the other killer feature missing from the iPhone- a pullout qwerty keyboard.........

If Apple bring out a phone of equal technical specs to those of other manufacturers on the market- perhaps I'll consider it again. Why, or more to the point, how, they are able to sell a pretty looking piece of obsolete hardware is beyond me.......

As for the hardware specific website from Google closing- why on earth would they put finances and effort into supporting a rival to their own piece of eye candy? Hardware agnostic websites are the way to go.

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