Got Android envy? Just wish Apple handled sync, the web and openness a bit better? Well, you can't have it all but if you want to bring more Google paradigms to your iPhone here's how to do it.
Despite the title, this isn't just about Google-ifying your iPhone but really any iOS device you might own. If you're an iPad or iPod touch owner, we've got you covered too. That said, let's take a look at the ways you can bring more Google to your device.
Set Up Google Sync
Google Sync for iOS will let you push your contacts, calendars and mail to your iPhone (or other iOS device). The functionality is similar to what you'd get with MobileMe, except it works through the Microsoft Exchange protocol. Google Sync requires iOS 3.0 or higher, but iOS 4.0 or higher will let you add multiple Exchange so you'll want to make sure you've upgraded if you need multiple exchange accounts on your device. The setup instructions get pretty detailed so we're not going to get into them here, but it's definitely not a hard process. Google walks you through the process, step by step and you'll be pushing your mail, contacts, and calendars in just a few minutes.
Get Your Google Docs
Like most Google apps, you can access your Google Docs through the web browser, but if you want to start saving them to your iPhone and have a native app experience you should grab a copy of GoodReader. While it's not the only Google Docs option in the app store, it's inexpensive ($2.49 for iPhone, $2.49 for iPad) and comes with a lot of added functionality. In addition to syncing Google Docs you can pull documents from tons of other sources, like WebDAV and Dropbox. It makes for a great document reader and allows annotations on PDFs. Getting your Google Docs is really simple. You just open Good Reader, tap Web Downloads, tap Connect to Servers, tap Google Docs and then enter your Google account information. Once you do that it'll save your Google Docs as a file location and you can download your documents right to your iOS device.
Get the Google Mobile App
Although it probably goes without saying, you can't really have a Google-ified iPhone without the Google Mobile app. If you're not familiar with it, Google Mobile gives you quick access to popular Google services but also makes searching a lot easier by allowing you to use your voice and location. It also includes Google Goggles, which lets you take a photo and use it as a search query. For example, take a picture of a book you like or a nearby restaurant and Google will find it. If you want to bring up any previous searches, Google Mobile tracks your search history so you can quickly find things again. It's free in the iTunes App Store and brings a ton of great search functionality missing in iOS.
Use the Google You Already Have
For simplicity's sake, it's worth noting that the Google web apps — accessible through Mobile Safari — are really good. Google has also added instant search to iOS (and other mobile devices) so you don't want to discount their usefulness. You can always save an iPhone bookmark to your home screen for quick access of any Google web apps you frequently use. While native apps can be great, Google really does an excellent job with their mobile browser-based offerings. Using them feels pretty much identical to any native app anyway.
Got any great ways of added more Google to your iOS device? Let's hear 'em in the comments.