Google improves iPhone offering

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A month after it launched a customized Web portal for iPhone users, Google is introducing a new version that further integrates the company’s offerings into Apple’s popular phone. It will be on display at this week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco, and available to anyone who uses the iPhone.

The services are accessed simply by directing the iPhone’s Safari Web browser to Google’s home page. Previously, iPhone users had access to special versions of Google Search, Gmail, Calendar, Reader and other services working from a unified interface on iPhone’s Safari.

On Monday, Google announced that it has further streamlined the interface, tweaking it both for speed and usability. Users can also customize Google applications on tabs in the Google.com menu bar; you can select what Google app you’d like to use by bringing it to the front menu. The tab customization includes Gmail, Calendar, Reader, Docs and Picasa accounts.

Gmail is now faster, and features “auto-complete” that will automatically fill in the contacts field of e-mails. What’s more, users won’t have to hit refresh to see new e-mails in Gmail because Gmail will automaticaly show new messages.

The calendar now features a Month view. Google users can also access iGoogle gadgets—mini-applications that show you weather, stock info, news feeds and other content.

The new Google services for the iPhone keep pace with some new services that Yahoo introduced just last week. Yahoo began letting mobile users, including iPhone customers, choose widgets to arrange on their mobile Yahoo home pages.

Nancy Gohring of IDG News Service contributed to this report.

Updated at 1:37 p.m. PT to add more information on Gmail and other features.

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