Google Extends Product Search To Android, iPhone

Google Product Search now has increased functionality on mobile devices, including ones that run Google’s Android operating system, and iPhones. As Google Android begins to penetrate the smartphone and netbook market, Google has tailored core products to run more efficiently on the OS.

Google announced a mobile-friendly version of its Product Search application, emphasizing its utility for iPhone and Android-powered devices, in an 23 April corporate blog posting.

Google Product Search allows users to type whatever they’re searching for – such as “server software” – into the search bar and receive results pulled from a variety of shopping sites.

On their smartphone’s browser, users can navigate to, type in the name of a particular product, and then click or touch the “Shopping” link that appears in the search results. They could also click “More” on Google’s main search page, and then click “Shopping” to access Product Search.

“Say you’re in a store and having a hard time deciding between two products,” Rob Stacey, a software engineer with the Google mobile team, wrote on the Official Google Mobile Blog. “Instead of waiting to go home to check the Internet for ratings and reviews, you can now get all of this information right there on the spot.”

Google has increasingly geared itself toward smartphone variants on its core products, particularly as the iPhone gains in popularity and Google’s Android operating system becomes more prevalent within the global mobile-device ecosystem.

On 14 April, Google released the Google Android 1.5 “Early Look” SDK for developers, including a number of new-and-improved tools such as user interface refinements to the browser. The Early Look SDK features a different component structure than earlier SDKs, and does not work with older Eclipse plug-ins (ADT 0.8), which in turn do not work with the new Eclipse plug-in (ADT 0.9).

Google has adjusted other products in its line to run more effectively on Android, including an updated version of Gmail specifically designed to run faster on the Android Web browser.

In an 16 April earnings call, Google chief executive, Eric Schmidt suggested that Android would have “a very, very strong year” in 2009.

“We’re already aware of many, many uses of Android, which as you know is open source,” Schmidt added. “The open source part of the strategy is working.”

Since making its debut in August 2008, Android has been slowly penetrating the mobile market, with analysts predicting that it will be running on 12 percent of global smartphone shipments by 2012. Companies ranging from Dell to Hewlett-Packard and T-Mobile have been planning a variety of applications for Android, which by the end of 2009 will likely begin a substantial rollout into the mini-notebook, or so-called ‘netbook’ market.