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January 19, 2009

iGoogle Redirects iPhone Users to the Standard Mobile Interface

iGoogle continues to make mistakes. After testing the new version of iGoogle without providing an option to end the experiment, after ignoring most of the complaints regarding the new interface, Google decided to redirect iPhone users to the standard mobile interface, instead of sending them to the iPhone-optimized interface. Apparently, G1 users were also affected by this strange decision.

"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," explains a Google engineer.

The problem was that the iPhone-optimized interface included all the gadgets from the desktop version and the tabs, it was sleek and easy to use on a touch screen, while the standard mobile version only shows feeds and a small number of gadgets. Degrading user experience and taking away a lovely interface is not the best way to encourage people to use iGoogle.

iGoogle's forum has a long thread with complaints and some users suggest to change the user-agent in Safari because the iPhone interface is still available for other browsers. Here's one of the few polite messages from the thread:

"I have to admit I am quite surprised by the unofficial news that you have removed your previously excellent iGoogle adaptation for iPhone. I can understand that in times of consolidating services in order to increase your internal efficiency you need to keep down the number of platforms. But removing the iPhone support without properly notifying your users in advance and explaining the reasons why you do this is perhaps not the smartest move if you want to keep loyal customers and brand value. And especially since you yourself have found that iPhone users are very active web users compared to the other mobile platforms."

13 comments:

  1. It's funny, it's like G.notebook :
    Decision from Google to remove a great thing --> many complains from users --> no response from Google --> more complains = Frustration

    It's the talk of the town...

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  2. it's redirect me to not found page , www.google.com/m/ig

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  3. I think google maps needs MILEPOSTS. 1-195 has potholes. and ...help me find them all!

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  4. I thnk it is nothing compared to "best user experience" imposed by Google by redirecting to particular language version of Google services basedon flawed GeoIP.

    I am struggling with this for 2 years now as i do NOT want to use Google Search and other services in Czech language, yet Google keeps redirecting me to Czech versions. And ansewer from support was "We have decided to use GeoIP for best user experience".

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  5. I'm thinking Google doesn't always go in the right direction. I may stick with Y!

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  6. Looks like their "backfield is in motion". I'm afraid there is more to come!

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  7. I'm on opera and this enforced redirection is absolutely ruined my viewing experience - can't use the site at all anymore and also formats any web pages launched from igoogle as mobile - what is the point in getting a decent web enabled phone...

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  8. If they would really want the mobile experience to be the same for all they would at least given us the option to use the desktop version for people who have a browser capable of rendering full pages like the Iphone.

    I just lost my believe in Google and will look for a competitor.
    Screw you Microscum of the internet !!!

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  9. Daniel Dočekal, do you allow cookies/preferences to be saved? You could also bookmark something like http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en as your main Google search.

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  10. Another reply from Paul, who works at Google:

    "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.

    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:
    http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=96016

    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."

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  11. Horrible decision

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  12. Miss the iphone page. Google you suck!

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  13. The dumb part is I have 8 tabs and one is just a "work" tab that I use to display crap that is acceptable at work but is not very interesting to me. I have Igoogle set so if I am in the board of directors meeting (for example) and someone asks me to open my browser it doesn't display my *interesting* stuff.

    Now that is the *only* page my iphone will display - none of my real content in the other tabs. All my RSS feeds - gone.

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