Tuesday, September 23, 2008 | 8:16 AM
At Google, we develop products that we love to use ourselves. For example, we're avid users of Search, Gmail, Maps, and many others. But for those of us in mobile, it's tough. Not all products work the same on all devices, and although we try and optimize for each device, we often run into challenges specific to certain mobile phone platforms. I, for one, used to carry three devices with me all day. I love my iPhone for its powerful browser and music player. I use my BlackBerry for Gmail and Calendar (and occasionally Brick Breaker), and I carry a Nokia N-series phone because of its camera and YouTube application.
The first Android-powered phone, announced today by T-Mobile, comes 'with Google'. The following Google applications are preloaded on the device: Search, Maps, Gmail with Contacts, Calendar, Google Talk, and YouTube. There are a few things I'm particularly excited about:
- Easy to use. It's never been easier to use Google on your phone. With single sign-in, you can log in to your Google account and have instant access to all your favorite Google products. No messing around with settings, your login never expires, and everything just works. If you don't have a Google account yet, you can set one up on your phone and be up and running in seconds.
- Fully synchronized. Your emails, contacts, calendar entries, Google Talk chats are fully synchronized with Gmail and Calendar on the web. New events are pushed in real-time to your phone and any changes you make on-the-go are immediately available on the web. If you ever lose or break your phone, all your data is safe and secure in the cloud.
- Designed to work together. Search is now available as a feature in many applications, including non-Google ones, such as the music player. While you're listening to a song -- like something from Depeche Mode -- just 'long-press' the artist's name. You'll see a menu pop up that let's you search Google for the Depeche Mode Wikipedia entry, or search YouTube for the music video. The contact application lets you see your friend's IM status, view his address on a map, and communicate with him using Gmail or Google Talk. And, of course, you can call or text him as well.
The Google applications on Android take full advantage of the features of the Android platform. Gmail is built on 'embedded WebViews', the real-time push features and synchronization use the multi-tasking capabilities of the platform, and the integration between applications relies on the 'Android Application Framework'.
We're kicking off a new blog series, called 'Google on Android'. Over the next couple of weeks, we will dig deeper into each one of the Google applications available for Android, and at the end of the series, I'll let you know whether I've decided to switch phones or switch to pants that let me carry four phones instead of three.