Fast is better than slow

via Official Google Mobile Blog by Lawrence Chang on 3/19/08

By Robert Hamilton, Product Manager, Google mobile team

A few weeks ago, we launched a plug-in for Symbian devices that put a Google search shortcut onto the phone’s home screen. This shortcut reduces the time it takes for you to get answers from Google by eliminating the initial search steps (e.g. finding the browser application, opening it, and navigating to Google.com before entering your query). The same plug-in has been available for BlackBerry devices since last December. Today, we’re making this available for Windows Mobile devices too.

If you’re a Windows Mobile user, browse to mobile.google.com on your device to download the plug-in and start searching faster than ever. Once you do, we think you’ll find it so much faster and easier that you’ll start conducting more mobile web searches than you ever had before. How do we know this? Well, when we look at the combined usage numbers for BlackBerry and Symbian versions of this plug-in, we see that users are able to get Google search results up to 40 percent faster. And, BlackBerry and Symbian users with the plug-in installed search 20 percent more than those without it.

We saw something similar after we launched an updated interface for Gmail on the iPhone during MacWorld earlier this year. Lots of iPhone users tried the new interface (hence the bump in Gmail pageviews between January and February), but they didn’t stick around like we hoped they would. Over the course of the next few weeks, we made some tweaks to drastically improve the speed of the product, and Gmail pageviews on the iPhone not only stabilized, but began to rise, as the graph below shows:

This link between increased usage and a faster user experience — be it search or mobile Gmail — reinforces something we at Google have known for a long time: Fast is better than slow. With mobile applications, we’re seeing that fast is much better than slow. Although this may seem pretty intuitive, it’s always nice to see new data backing this up. Moving forward, we’ll continue to focus on bringing you the fastest and most compelling mobile experiences that we can. So stay tuned!

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Google Opens Gmail Signups Further

After opening its formerly invitation-only Gmail webmail service to anyone with a mobile phone in August 2005, Google removed that requirement Wednesday. Now, anyone can signup for a Gmail account by creating a Google Account.

The mobile phone requirement was designed to prevent Gmail accounts from being created by robots and stop spammers from signing up multiple times. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Gmail signup URL still redirected users to the SMS-based method, but a support article on Google’s site says the world is now welcome without an invitation or phone.

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