Google Dumps Optimized version of iGoogle for the iPhone; Redirects to a Standard Mobile version Instead

One of our readers, Jesse, had sent an email late last week to inform us that Google has dumped the optimized version of iGoogle for the iPhone and is redirecting users to a standard mobile version instead.

So if you type www.igoogle.com in your iPhone Safari's address
bar, you will now be taken to standard mobile version of iGoogle at
www.google.com/m/ig instead of the iPhone version at www.google.com/ig/i. If you try to go to the iPhone version directly, you will get redirected to the mobile version of iGoogle.

This hasn't gone too well with iPhone users who used to love the iPhone version of iGoogle.

You can checkout the screenshot below to understand the difference between the optimized version of iGoogle for the iPhone and mobile version of iGoogle. As you can see information in the iPhone version is better laid out and easier to navigate then the standard mobile version. The other issue is that some of the contents does not show up in the mobile version which used to load in the iPhone version, as the content isn't compatible with the mobile version.



But as you can see from this Google Discussion thread, the decision to dump the optimized version of iGoogle for the iPhone has irked quite a few iPhone users.

Paul has also provided the following clarification about the situation.

Hey everyone, I have an update for you. We've decided to direct iPhone
users to the standard mobile iGoogle page. We've found that people hit
iGoogle from lots of different phones — we want to ensure you'll all
see the same version.

Most or all of your existing content
should translate over to the standard mobile version. The only
exception would be any gadgets that aren't compatible with most mobile
browsers.

We've got several articles in our Help Center about
the mobile experience on iGoogle, which you can find in our Help Center
(linked below).

However, that didn't stop the comments from folks who really liked the iPhone version. Paul later added:

Hi everyone,
I want
to let you know that the teams involved in this decision are aware of
this thread and following along on the feedback. I'd like to address a
few concerns I've seen posted:
The mobile version doesn't provide the same experience as the iPhone/Android version
We
know there are some differences between the two versions — in fact
I've been using iGoogle on the iPhone since the day it launched. One of
the trade offs we know we're making with concentrating on a single
version is that not all mobile browsers can handle the same content
that the iPhone and Android can. The mobile team does want to hear any
ideas you've got for mobile features; you can submit them to their
ideas page:
iGoogle on iPhone and Android
The
Android users who've popped in here are right; we're also redirecting
Android phones to the mobile interface. The goal here is to provide an
iGoogle page that's optimized for speed and reliability; this change
wasn't made to cater to Android users.
The iPhone/Android version is still available from a desktop computer
That's
currently true; redirecting iPhone and Android users to the mobile
iGoogle page was the first step in standardizing the experience. We're
working on taking down the iPhone/Android version.
Some content has disappeared
If
some of your content isn't there now, that's probably because it isn't
compatible with the mobile interface (for you technical folks, that's
anything in an IFRAME). You can learn about what content from your list
does work from this article in our Help Center:
Finally,
if there's a Google service that you used to access on the iPhone
version of iGoogle that isn't offered in the mobile version, we may
have an optimized version available. To see the list of optimized
services, visit Google.com on your iPhone or Android phone and tap the
'More' link at the top of the page.

Christina over at DownloadSquad also did some investigation concluded:

iPhone users can rest a bit easier knowing that there is no widespread
conspiracy; Android users get the crappy mobile interface too.

But she found something strange. It looks like the Gmail widget does
not work on the iPhone or the BlackBerry but works on T-Mobile's
Android smartphone – G1. I tried to load the Gmail gadget on my iPhone 3G and it did not load
though it was visible in the desktop version.


 

Jesse asked us the following question:

Was the decision to level the
playing field between Google's own Android and the superior iphone
interface?

Its possible but in the current environment we believe the reason for dropping the iPhone version of iGoogle and to redirect users to a standard mobile version was probably to reduce overheads (read costs) of maintaining various versions of iGoogle. As you might already know, Google has been taking a long, hard look at all the things they are doing to ensure they
are investing resources in the projects that will have the biggest
impact for our users and partners. Google recently announced the shutdown of many experimental products that weren’t really generating any revenue such as Notebook, Dodgeball, Catalog Search, and Jaiku.

But lets hope Google takes notice of the feedback they have received from users who loved the iPhone version of iGoogle and rolls back its decision or at least makes the standard mobile version as good as the iPhone version.

We will keep you posted if there are any further updates on this topic here at iPhone Hacks, so stay tuned.

What do you think? Are you missing the iPhone version of iGoogle? Tell us in the comments.

Thanks Jesse for the heads up!

 

 

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