Although we’re still awaiting the day Google announces local apps for the iPhone, it’s still good to see them improve their mobile webapps.
Today, Google introduces a number of significant enhancements to both GMail and Google Calendar on the iPhone and Android. The most immediate update is the navigation bar above all your Google Apps, making navigation between each a piece of pie.
For Gmail, Google have improved speed when performing typical activities, altered the underlying architecture of the app to allow for quicker enhancements in the future. Interestingly, thanks to Gears and HTML5, you can also still access recently read messages and even compose over a poor or even non-existent network connection.
Multiple selection of messages has also been integrated, making the entire experience far more desktop GMail like.
Google Calendar has also drastically improved, making it possible to actually edit your schedule in detail directly from your mobile. You can change your attendance status, edit the details, and add or remove guests and just like GMail, your calendar will still start up and show your last viewed events even with no connectivity.
To access the new Calendar, head to google.com/calendar/gp for normal gmail users or google.com/m/a/yourdomain for Google Apps users.
Why Still WebApps?
“Well, from a product perspective, web apps allow us to iterate quickly, so users benefit because they will see new features appear in the browser without having to download anything. We can experiment rapidly by learning how people use the features and then choose whether to invest further in that direction or move on. Using the browser as a delivery platform also means that users will see new feature releases happening more frequently because we can maximize our engineering efficiency by sharing code across device families. Looking at this release of Gmail, there is 90%+ code share between the Android and iPhone experience. As new devices come on the market with high-end browsers, most of the work is already done.”
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