There was quite a bit of furor on the interwebs back in January when Google killed the special version of the iGoogle personalized home page for the iPhone and Android devices. Google’s explanation at the time was that they wanted to provide a consistent experience across all devices. Which didn’t make much sense given the big Gs enthusiasm for cloud based web services running in advanced mobile web browsers as a replacement for installable apps. For the last five months iPhone and Android users navigating to iGoogle.com saw the generic mobile version of iGoogle, a bare bones implementation that has the virtue of running on your old RAZR, but which unfortunately gave iPhone or G1 users an old RAZR like user experience.
It turns out the Google was just kidding about giving all mobile users a consistent, albeit lowest common denominator, user experience. The new iGoogle for Android and the iPhone was announced yesterday. It’s a worthy replacement for the old iPhone/Android specific iGoogle with support for all desktop iGoogle widgets except those that are Flash based. Each widget appears as a large button initially, which when tapped expands to reveal its content. The new iGoogle is not the default, it’s offered as a “Try the new Mobile iGoogle!” option to iPhone and Android users (only) visiting iGoogle.com.
On my Android phone, the new iGoogle does work great, it displays all the tabs and compatible widgets that I’ve defined in the desktop version. It doesn’t seem to possible to specify that specific widgets appear only in the mobile or only in the desktop version. All the widgets I tried; Twitter Gadget, Google News, Mail and Calendar and Ping.fm; looked and worked just as they do on the desktop.