Google services on the iPad and tablet computers

Friday, April 2, 2010 | 10:30 AM

Here at Google we’re really excited about the promise of tablet computers, which will be great for browsing the web and using apps. We’ve been working hard to optimize our services for the new format - larger touchscreens, increased portability, rich sensors - and we’d like to share some information about our progress so far.

While surfing the web on your iPad, we expect many of you will want to check your Gmail. If you go to gmail.com in your browser, you’ll see something different than what you’re used to on the desktop. We’re releasing an experimental user interface for the iPad built on the Gmail for mobile HTML5 web app that we launched last year for the iPhone and Android devices. Those devices have large screens compared to other phones, and tablets like the iPad give us even more room to innovate. To take advantage of the iPad’s large display, we’ve created a two-pane view with your list of conversations on the left and messages to the right.


To try this new interface, go to gmail.com in your browser. We recommend adding a homescreen link for easy access. As this interface is experimental, expect changes as we continue to develop and optimize. Also, please let us know any ideas or feedback that you have. You can also access Gmail on the iPad through the native Mail app using the IMAP protocol.

Additionally, the iPad ships with a number of Google services pre-installed. As with Mac computers and the iPhone, you’ll find Google Search in the top right corner of Safari. The YouTube app for iPad is built-in, so you can watch HD videos and read and write comments. The new Maps app on iPad takes advantage of high-resolution satellite and Street View imagery, includes a new terrain view, and lets you search for local businesses and get directions. Just like on the iPhone, you can also go to the App Store to download Google Mobile App with search by voice. Of course, Google Mobile App was originally designed for the iPhone’s screen dimensions, but we’ve adapted it to work on the iPad and we’re looking into new ideas to make the app even better.

As you use Google’s web-based applications on iPad, you’ll notice that you sometimes see the desktop user interface and other times you see the mobile interface. We’ve evaluated the behavior of each Google web app using the iPad Simulator, and we are serving the interface we feel works best. If you’d like any help using our products on iPad, please click the 'Help' link within the product.

We’re particularly excited by how tablet computers create the opportunity for new kinds of user interaction. Here on the mobile team, we often talk about how mobile devices are sensor-rich: they can sense touch through their screens, see with a camera, hear through a microphone, and they know where they are with GPS. The same holds true for tablet computers, and we’re just starting to work through how our products can become even better on devices like the iPad.


Update on April 4, 2010 @ 12:30 AM: The new Google Mobile App for iPad is currently not yet available in the App Store. The version that you can download now is the iPhone/iPod touch version.

Update on April 13, 2010 @ 11:40 AM: The new Google Mobile App for iPad is now available in the App Store.

70 comments:

gerrrg said...

That's nice to know. But really, couldn't you folks work a little harder at making ChromeOS on a tablet a reality?

Philip Arnason said...

This email view looks awesome. What about allowing users from regular desktop computers read email in the same fashion? Is there a way to enable this?

Ć-Ŧőŵņ: MỷŧЋ said...

But what about other tablets, namely JooJoo, some of us don't like being locked down into the iTunes ecosystem!

jeadly said...

Looks like email looked before gmail...

Richard said...

Very cool! If you can get reader exactly like this with every entry expanded and a removable sidebar I will be more than happy! Also want to see a fully functional google docs for iPad! Keep it up! Any word on Google Earth for iPad with high res graphics?

The Crank said...

Here's another vote for having this interface on other computers!

Chris said...

I like this! I really do think it's a great start. But I will admit that, at first glance, column widths feels a bit awkward. This isn't a typical 1/3, 2/3 split. Perhaps applying a grid system here would be helpful in creating some pleasing proportions.

I'll have to really touch it to say for sure, but it looks like there are ways to save some space on the left hand column (conversation list).

Spencer said...

How about letting the rest of the world choose to use a two column approach as well?

Serafina said...

Ooh, that's cool... but I'm not getting an iPad. Though I'd LOVE that interface on my desktop. I have a widescreen monitor and there is SO much wasted space.

G-MaN said...

soon someone will find out the direct url to the ipad version as we know it for the iphone.

Philip Arnason said...

I got it on my desktop by changing my user agent string

Virgil said...

use this user agent if you want to try it: Mozilla/5.0(iPad; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B314 Safari/531.21.10

Bram said...

Wow, this would look great on my MacBook! Perhaps through Gmail Labs???

MrData said...

Ok, now it looks like MS Outlook, so... what's the big discover?

hummm said...

Wow this looks really good on my iMac too.... do what virgil said to get the view on your pc :)

Ryan Tate said...

Is this available to Google Apps GMail, or are your paying business customers being left behind the curve again?

Stu said...

Google Docs on iPad please!

Simen said...

Same design for Google Reader please!

Raj said...

Why is Gmail for iPad in Arial when you can have Helvetica?

k.benton said...

Not bad, though I think it's being shown off in the wrong orientation... that split view is more appropriate to a horizontal iPad. Watch the video of the built in Mail app.

I realize there's no way (yet, one assumes) to know the device orientation or do a smooth transition, but it ought to be possible to include a button to tap that transforms it from that view -- suitable for horizontal orientation -- to a view that moves the message thread listing up into a button that shows the list on button press. Again, check out the look of Mail.app.

This would reinforce the Apple UI metaphor users are (or will soon be) accustomed to while maintaining control over the rest of the implementation.

Looking forward to playing with it (but not 'til the end of the month... gre argh 3g).

-k

Dimillian said...

I just tested it on the simulator (have to type the /mu/ adress because it don't show me the new interface automatically but it is awesome.
I'll love to have it on gmail desktop, what do you think of it ?

ckelley87 said...

Re: Chrome OS. I'm pretty sure that they have people working on this right now and they're not just twiddling their thumbs doing nothing. I'm also sure that when Chrome OS launches, this will be available to it.

Re: JooJoo: If you're one of the 75 people who actually have one, compared to the hundreds of thousands who will have an iPad by Saturday afternoon, I'm sure there will eventually be a way for you to access it. But since you got a JooJoo to surf "the real entire web", why can't you use the "Desktop" version of Gmail? Thought you didn't want any of this "mobile" stuff?

Disclosure: Not getting an iPad, just think that some people need to calm down.

threegees said...

Awesome! You can easily simulate using Safari on your desktop: http://developer.apple.com/safari/library/technotes/tn2010/tn2262.html#SAFARI_ON_IPAD_READINESS_CHECKLIST_1__TEST_YOUR_WEBSITE_ON_IPAD__AND_UPDATE_USER_AGENT_DETECTION_CODE_IF_NECESSARY-SIMULATING_SAFARI_ON_IPAD_HTTP_REQUESTS_IN_SAFARI_ON_THE_DESKTOP

Pedro said...

k.bento, there is a way to know the orientation in Mobile Safari, and Google knows that (of course)... They could work a (bit) little more to make the 2 visions (horizontal and vertical), but they prefer to launch something like this.

If you really like the new interface, just use the Mail app and configure Gmail with Mobile Exchange protocol (I don't remember how, but I put m.google.com as server, my username - with gmail.com and my password and it works, with push, on my iPod touch).

Robot Linus said...

that two column view is fantastic, i wish we could have it on the desktop version of gmail, its so much more slick and easier to navigate

Chris Ryland said...

That's great, but can you enable this for any iPad app using WebKit?

It must be sniffing for Mobile Safari for the iPad; can you make it sniff more generally for iPad apps with embedded webviews?

Thanks.

squidinkcalligraphy said...

How about making this an option of other tablet devices? I have a school full of fujitsu tablet PCs where this would be super-handy, but a user-agent hack is not practical to deploy. Tablets have been around a long time - how about supporting them (not just apple's shiny new thing)

Rulz said...

AGREE!! This interface need to be an option for the desktop users.

Usage May Vary said...

@philip: Hahaha, yeah. This is email version 1.0 all over again.

Really, you may as well put thunderbird on the ipad and you'd get the same result (but faster).

PS: google: let mobile devices have a full native email client. We have the storage space for it. It's time to let people download all the emails from the inbox when they come in (at least the text).

wyngo said...

There are a lot of other tablets out there other than the iPad. How about a dedicated URL so the rest of us can use this interface without agent switching?

Robin Ashford said...

Would love to be able to create and edit Google docs on the iPad. Thx!

Joerg said...

I think all the other millions of TabletPC Users want to have this gmail UI too. When its going to happen?

AndyH said...

Well done Google. This is great. Just another reason to buy an iPad, sadly a month later in the UK.

PageRank-SEO said...

That it's HTML5 reflects Google's commitment to web standards and reiterates their position on Flash vs HTML5 -- though this is a requirement for the iPad. Will be interesting to see if Google has paid sufficient attention to detail that the webapps pages are World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guideline compliant. Validation test: http://validator.nu/ .

For Gmail (and it's use as a component in Buzz) accounts where the user has chosen to implement a branded domain name the MX Records need to be copied to the DNS host account. Without this their is insufficient support of IMAP protocols for GMAIL to truly be an option for small businesses (or any entity that wants to maintain a branded web presence).

Dave said...

@Ryan Tate - Yes, it appears we Google Apps are left out yet again. If I change my Chrome UA string and sign on with my regular gmail account, I get the cool new layout. But if I use my Google Apps email, I get the tired old single column view.

Bummer.

S said...

How can I use this two-column gmail on my desktop or N900? I don't really want to fake my user agent string. Can you post a direct link please?

Auggie said...

Ok I am a happy puppy. I have my Nexus One and it can do everything I wanted in a smartphone. But you know how demanding customers can become when a company such as Google deliver such cool products and innovations. We want more. Thank you for making my life easier with the NeXus One.

I now ask for a HTC Pad, running Chrome OS.

Jordan T-H said...

Doesn't work on Apps for Domain. Calendar sync only allows one calendar? WTF?

The Grogan Family said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Jordan G said...

Yeah it would be nice if the cool new layout worked for GOOGLE APPS too!!
Wonder when the people PAYING for gmail will get the upgrade!?!?!

Jeff Scott said...

Why does Google Sync only allow 1 calendar to sync to the iPad? The iPhone sync allows 25 calendars.

Mister Sill said...

Waiting until it is possible to edit Google Docs before buying the iPad. Please hurry!

chippwalters said...

Another unhappy Google Apps customer. I'm beginning to think switching to the paid for google apps was a Huge mistake-- as I did so primarily for the support, of which there is very little. I'm not much a Mac fan, but Google would be wise to take a lesson in customer relations from Apple.

Please allow Google Apps customers to access this interface!

Mary said...

Need a good way to access google contacts on the ipad--google docs would be great too.

Martin said...

How can I use alias e-mail addresses, i.e. not just my default GMail address?

How can I use the new interface with Google Apps?

Rich McCue said...

To be really useful as a light weight laptop replacement, I really need to be able to edit Google Docs! Any time frame for implementing this?

Thanks for a great product.

Phillip said...

I really wish Gmail in Firefox on Windows Anything looked half this good...

Ravi said...

It looks like you spoiled Matt's surprise birthday dinner.

Anthony said...

Same for reader!

Laurel said...

For the iPad: Will the new Google Mobile App let you edit documents in Google Docs? I have been trying all day long trying to figure out how to edit Google Documents on my iPad! Not the ones you can upload, just the regular Google Docs.

Rahim Rahim said...

Google... All we need now is the ability to edit and create google documents. That's it... Google will have finally ruled the world if my iPad can edit google docs... Come on guys please please please please with a Cherry on top. Hehe

Mr Kitty said...

1. This is not enabled for Google Apps users.
2. Google Sync isn't enabled for the iPad.
3. Google calendar won't let you switch into a desktop view on the iPad (I was able to trick it by going into it from the desktop version if gmail).
4. Google Docs are completely non-functional on the iPad.

Terribly disappointing showing from Google.

PomonaResident said...

Google apps being completely functional on iPad is essential. Seems an easy fix would be to read incoming device and if iPad/Phone then "classic" mode link is enabled. Keyboard works on forms but submit doesn't!

Google docs is a killer app for iPad - why is it stillborn???

Memeo is really nice visually but read only is a total bust.....

Jonathan said...

::clap:: to what Joerg said:
"I think all the other millions of TabletPC Users want to have this gmail UI too. When its going to happen?"

David Meade said...

Please work on getting google docs (word style docs) editable on the iPad version of Safari.

John said...

I just tried an iPad out at a local best buy, I was ready to buy one when I tried out my favorite Google Services:

-Reader starts in mobile mode, desktop mode was not usable at all, I think this will require an iPad specific interface.
-Docs, completely worthless, also starts in mobile mode but desktop mode didn't fair any better. Couldn't edit anything.
-Analytics requires flash for the graphs.
-Adwords was blocked by BB for some reason.

I'll reconsider an iPad once Google has had a chance to make some of these services work.

reco said...

Hi there

I also want this in my google apps.
Also reader and google docs on the iPad would be a big plus

Point. said...

Thanks this is a good update. I am an enterprise user and recently switched from outlook where this feature of having preview window is widely used. This feature works for gmail.com. What needs to be done to activate this feature. My enterprise account does not have this turned on inspite of me updating the user agent.

Jason Webster said...

Agreed! Am dying to be able to edit Google Docs and spreadsheets and not just view them! Rarely do I beg Google, but this is me on my knees begging... Let me edit my Google Docs on my ipad!!!

sewa mobil said...

thank you very much for your explanations and articles provided

Sohail said...

By the way, has anyone noticed that you can't select the "from" email in the mobile or standard HTML versions? So, if you use Gmail as an interface for other accounts and want to be able to send email from another address, you're out of luck with the mobile and standard HTML versions.

David Bickford said...

"We’ve evaluated the behavior of each Google web app using the iPad Simulator, and we are serving the interface we feel works best."

How can the mobile version of Google Docs be said to work best when it doesn't allow creation of new documents or editing of existing documents? A read-only Google Docs is of little value on any device, and especially not on the iPad.

The unfortunate situation is that Google Docs is failing to serve iPad users, and Apple's Pagse app for the iPad is woefully lacking. Someone other than Google or Apple could do well with a well-designed word processing app for the iPad.

Jeff said...

I got a laptop with a multitouch screen (Acer Aspire 5738PG). Why can't I use this GMail version with it ?!

Kris Whang said...

iPad Google Docs partial fix in place. Google Docs spreadsheets scroll properly. Viewing and editing is very limiting, however, because the docs are shown in mobile format only. Someone said Safari in iPad may be the culprit and that sounds like the permanent fix may not be forthcoming any time soon.

Kashmir Travels said...

I also want this in my google apps.

Tom McDougal said...

Bug: trying to edit a long message which doesn't fit in the window. When I try to scroll, the whole 2-column view scrolls when what I need is for just the message editing pane to scroll. As a result I can't get to the end of the message.

Tom McDougal said...

I would like to try the regular web interface to Google calendar. I find the iCal user interface (on the iPad) clunky for adding new entries. You can't drag to define start and end times the way you do in the regular calendar.

I would also like to have the option of accessing the regular desktop gmail interface, in contrast to those who have wished for the new 2-column interface on their desktops. Just goes to show... :-)

Bader said...

Hope to see the same 2 pane view for Google Reader for iPad.

sasha said...

it help in site ranking?
i have a site about
Doc Martens Boots

ben capozzi said...

Hi,

Love Google Docs and use them in all my classes; students and instructors LOVE them! PLEASE make GDocs editable on the iPad, though! That is my new everyday tool but no GDocs editing is a major hindrance!

~benc