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Sometimes it’s easy to forget that despite the vast array of services Google now has its hands in, it all started simply with search. Google is kicking it old school today in launching the Google Mobile app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The app, available as a free download in Apple’s newly launched App Store, does more than search the web. It also searches your iPhone or iPod Touch for things like contacts. Searches can also be customized for items such a Wikipedia entires, news and images. More interesting is that it can use the device’s location sensing ability to tell where you are and do a local search for nearby establishments.

All of these searches are made easier by a recommendation engine that suggests what it thinks you are looking for as you type. Simply click on one of these words to easily access results for it.

While it may be useful to be able to search the web, contact and your iPhone pictures at times, the app strikes me as an odd layer laid over the Internet. That is to say, why, if you’re going to do a Google search, would you just not go directly to Google in the Safari browser? It’s not like this adds a lot of time, but it is still another step.

The app is currently only available in the U.S. App Store.

Watch the video below for more.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YZ4dVpmq1M&hl=en&w=425&h=344]

Check out MobileBeat2008, VentureBeat’s conference on July 24.

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