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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Google Mobile

Google XHTML Mobile Profile

Google has a search page running on XHTML Mobile Profile, optimized for hand phones and similar devices.

The only problem with these “special hand phone pages” is that they’re not necessary, even though WAP2 indeed has XHTML Mobile Profile as language of choice. A good smart phone browser, like NetFront on a Nokia Series 60, can render pretty much any page – including (I compared the new Google XHTML and normal Google, and there was no notable difference on my Nokia; both work fine).

No, not the new mobile search – good old (shown with the NetFront Access browser on Nokia 6600, Symbian OS, German language).

The Google mobile version might have some advantages on browsers which do not render any HTML well, like Opera’s mobile browser; however, it is futile to even try browsing the web with those, which would make the Google mobile web search meaningless as well. For Opera, only the mobile image search makes sense then, because thumbnails are delivered by Google.

HTML is device-independent by design, and if you write it as its meant to be, there is no need to create special pages for devices smaller than a desktop screen.* The HTML4 recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium states:

“HTML has been developed with the vision that all manner of devices should be able to use information on the Web: PCs with graphics displays of varying resolution and color depths, cellular telephones, hand held devices, devices for speech for output and input, computers with high or low bandwidth, and so on.”

*Yes, there are some content considerations, but device-independence does not mean people always want to be able to read long texts on tiny screens – if the resolution is not fit for reading large portions of texts like books, then people will simply not visit specific parts of the web. This in itself is not the issue. And people actually do may want to read longer texts on tiny screens; almost every day I read Yahoo News in the train, on a hand phone.

More at Google Mobile.

[Thanks Steve Rubel.]


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