Fast is better than slow

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | 8:45 AM



A few weeks ago, we launched a plug-in for Symbian devices that put a Google search shortcut onto the phone's home screen. This shortcut reduces the time it takes for you to get answers from Google by eliminating the initial search steps (e.g. finding the browser application, opening it, and navigating to Google.com before entering your query). The same plug-in has been available for BlackBerry devices since last December. Today, we're making this available for Windows Mobile devices too.

If you're a Windows Mobile user, browse to mobile.google.com on your device to download the plug-in and start searching faster than ever. Once you do, we think you'll find it so much faster and easier that you'll start conducting more mobile web searches than you ever had before. How do we know this? Well, when we look at the combined usage numbers for BlackBerry and Symbian versions of this plug-in, we see that users are able to get Google search results up to 40 percent faster. And, BlackBerry and Symbian users with the plug-in installed search 20 percent more than those without it.

We saw something similar after we launched an updated interface for Gmail on the iPhone during MacWorld earlier this year. Lots of iPhone users tried the new interface (hence the bump in Gmail pageviews between January and February), but they didn't stick around like we hoped they would. Over the course of the next few weeks, we made some tweaks to drastically improve the speed of the product, and Gmail pageviews on the iPhone not only stabilized, but began to rise, as the graph below shows:
This link between increased usage and a faster user experience -- be it search or mobile Gmail -- reinforces something we at Google have known for a long time: Fast is better than slow. With mobile applications, we're seeing that fast is much better than slow. Although this may seem pretty intuitive, it's always nice to see new data backing this up. Moving forward, we'll continue to focus on bringing you the fastest and most compelling mobile experiences that we can. So stay tuned!

32 comments:

DjP said...

Love the app, but after installing, having quick key on seemed to seriously reduce my battery life. I performed some basic troubleshooting over the course of a few days in the form of undoing some other changes I'd made to the phone first and also not actually using the key all day, but it seems quick key is the issue. Anyone else experience this. Just fyi, I'm using Symbian on E61i.

Paul G said...

impossible to download this app throught pocket ie on a htc p3600. I have forgot something special ?

Paul G said...

Sorry, no problems. Thanks to the dev team !

Chad said...

Using Sprint Touch with SPB Full Screen Keyboard. When I select Google Search textbox, then click on they Full Screen Keyboard in horizontal view, the FSK icon remains on the screen an covers up the "A" keyboard button. Windows Live Search does not have this problem, haven't seen it with any other apps so assume it's Google Search for some reason?

Dale Lane said...

Tried it on a WM6 Professional device and it works very well - thanks very much, guys.

The idea isn't very new - WM Treos have had this for a while, and I've been using a similar plugin on non-Treo WM devices for a couple of years now. That said, this is a more refined implementation. And making it available from your site will hopefully help more users to come across it. So I'm very pleased to see you releasing this.

I'd love to see you explore more opportunities for integrating Google into Windows Mobile devices. What about providing a Google plugin for Window Mobile's Pocket Internet Explorer that adds a 'Search Google' context menu for selected text? (Like is available in desktop Firefox). I wrote a plugin to do this last October and its certainly saved me a lot of time. (And I'd be happy to make my code available if it would help).

Thanks again!

Dave said...

I'm using a AT&T Blackjack i607 and when I use PIE, opera mini v4.0f or Opera 8.65 and go to mobile.google.com I dont not see the "search" download link. Anyone with a direct link to this plugin???

Thanks

Mobile Boffin said...

I have already put this to good use on the Blackberry Curve and agree with your findings. It reduces the time to results enough to make it worth while. Mobile internet is still overly cumbersome and slow while our expectations are set by the speed of our larger PCs and their broadband connections. Well done. Google continues to demonstrate that it "gets" mobile better than most.

Nirav Bhavsar said...

But, when will you improve your search results? oneSearch from Yahoo! does 3X better job than google mobile search.

Niraj said...

Thanks very much for this. Eliminating even a couple of steps in a task repeated many times in a day is incredibly useful.

My only suggestion is providing an option to get rid of the border around the box as it disrupts some homescreens.

Taha said...

This is a great plug in and ive been wanting this, but I noticed that the time of home screen layout it uses has the shortcut's being large logo's. Would there be anyway to have a layout with small layouts? I don't like having large layouts because it makes me have to scroll up and down a lot to see everything on my main screen.

Xavier Caballé said...

I installed on a Treo 750... but it complains about can't find "updater" because there's a missing component or maybe it hasn't been signed by a trusted certificate.

onbass said...

I have a T-Mobile Dash, running Windows for Smartphone 5.0. I downloaded the cab and it apparently installed, but it does not appear on my home screen, and is nowhere to be found. Is there something that prevents it from working on the Dash?

Adam said...

Installed fine on a Treo 750 but looks incredibly ugly. Additionally no support for international searches yet (specifically from google.com.au). Good move forward but not for me right now.

Dave said...

Installed this on my Sprint Touch and it's screwed up my Home screen.. the Home screen isnt refreshing properly, and it thinks part of the screen is the dial keypad.... Uninstalled the Google search plugin and now my phone works fine again.

Niraj said...

@taha: The icons can be made smaller if you're willing to tweak the XML file for the home screen. It's not that hard to do, and there's plenty of information online like this:
http://forums.thoughtsmedia.com/showthread.php?t=13308

You can even put the Google Search bar snippet into a different home screen altogether.

jss92 said...

Great - Love it on my AT&T Samsung Blackjack. I've found myself doing A LOT more mobile searches since I installed the app a few days ago.

Bravo Google!

Mikehill33 said...

Nice to have: Ability to run a web search for an address, then have the link open Google Maps application with the pushpin selected.

:)

Tony said...

My organization uses the corporate version of Gmail with a company address, but the Symbian app only supports name@gmail.com. It would be nice to be able to access my corporate email through the Symbian app, not just through the browser.

Josh Nelson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Josh Nelson said...

I am using the Google Search plugin on my today screen on my PPC-6700. However, when I slide out my keyboard some keys don't work properly. All my keys have a "alternate" character. I can press the red circle - kind of like an ALT button that allows access to the alternate character. So my "QWERTY" buttons will also do "123456". For some reason when I type in the search box on my today screen only the top row of my keyboard will type the alternate text even though I haven't pressed the alternate button. All the other buttons function correctly. This only happens in the Google search box plugin. I am using Windows Mobile 5.

desimo said...

Works a charm on the MotoQ. In fact, this is the ONLY thing (other, maybe, than maps) that is usable and convenient on the MotoQ...

J.Salinas said...

great theme! i built a custom theme for WM6 around the search bar if any one wants to check it out.

http://nawphix.deviantart.com/art/Orange-Carbon-WM6-Theme-80851003

Teco said...

Hi! I absolutely love your mobile apps. So much I use them all (from Search to Maps to Notebook) and sometimes even more than the web (the Reader, for instance). But since we're talking about fast, I'd like to share a problem I'm having with the Gmail app. The thing is, it increasingly takes longer to open. So much I've uninstalled and reinstalled twice. When I start using it opens relatively fast. But with time it just starts delaying more and more - last time I tried it took 5 minutes for the app to open. If I uninstall and reinstall the problem is fixed temporarily as it's like resetting. In a few days I get the whole increasing delay again. I wonder what would this be due to? I'm using a N95, software version 1.2 and I usually have 17Mb of free RAM (plus a 4Gb card). Keep in mind that much heavier apps such as Nokia's Mobile Web Server open without effort. (Oh, I know this isn't a support forum, I'll check at the Groups, but I though I should share).

Robert S said...

Not sure if this is a known issue; when I try to access this page using my T-Mobile Dash, the browser window closes on page load every time without fail.

Ofer_Lapid said...

The Symbian GMAIL app is very slow to load on the NOKIA E61 !
Browsing to gmail.com is much faster and that is a disapointment.

Seth said...

this article mentions the iPhone mobile suite site has been made faster through tweaks, so now its use is on the rise.

I beg to differ, or at least point out an alternate explanation. Since implementing the iPhone suite, iPhone users can no longer go to www.google.com/m/ and get web search results. So, if you want to use google search, you must either use the regular browser site or the iPhone specific site. In my experence, the regular site works fine but it is obviously sized incorrectly and you don't get mobile results like local businesses, etc, and the iPhone site is infuriatingly slow for a mobile search site, probably because it loads search, reader, gmail etc.

To top it off, the iphone built in search no longer works with the mobile site because the search terms are not passed as URL tokens.

So, this is an alternate theory forr your rise in traffic. I guess some people will compromise on speed and convenience if they are given no other option.

Umar said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Umar said...

Thanks Google Mobile team for this. Is there any way you guys can icorporate it into Windows Mobile 6.1 sliding panel theme? I really hope you guys thought/will think about it:)

E said...

Great plug in.....I do have one issue though. I have a Verizon xv6900 (htc touch) and when using the touch virtual keyboard (qwerty) only the alternate characters work. If i try to type a Q I get a !. If I try to type an e I get a 1.....etc.

I see someone else is having this issue as well.

Travis said...

I am having the same problem as Josh Nelson, using a Sprint PPC-6700 with Windows Mobile 5 the Google search defaults to the alternate use of keys. Doing a test I have found the following:
The top row on the slide out keyboard which consists of QWERTYUIOP inputs as 1234567890, on the next row the F key doesn't input at all, on the bottom row the V inputs as +, and the N key doesn't input at all, same as the F key.
All the keys work normally with anything else, such as IE, Word, text messaging, etc...

It's a shame, I think this has huge potential!

Frike said...

I know this is an old topic, but if someone comes across this post in a search as I did, and is still having problems with the Google Today Screen Search Plugin as I was, they might be interested in this information, I wasn't able to find it anywhere else (for Windows Mobile Pro 6.1; might be the same for other versions of Windows Mobile as well):

Now, the Google Today Screen Search Plugin is a great app that works perfectly for a lot of people, so don't take this as me putting it down, I just found that it doesn't work for everyone for some reason, including me. This workaround allows you to set the Windows Live Today Screen Search Plugin to open Google Mobile Search. Hey, the most important thing is that you're using Google's amazing search engine, am I right? ;)

1. This takes a registry editor. I use the free PHM Registry Editor [http://www.phm.lu/products/PocketPC/RegEdit/]

2. Open the registry editor and browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Services > Windows Live > HSAppPlugins.

3. I would copy the 'SearchURL' value, then rename it by adding "Backup" after 'SearchURL', then paste, thereby creating an original and a backup just in case. Alternatively you could export 'SearchURL' to back it up.

4. Modify the 'SearchURL' data to: http://www.google.com/m?source=mobileproducts&q=

5. Press Ok and exit the registry editor. A reset of any kind is not necessary, the modified Windows Live Today Screen Search Plugin will work with Google Mobile Search instantly.

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