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Google just gave Nexus One users a big present. The company just rolled out a software update enabling multitouch, fixing a glaring weak spot for the phone since its launch last month.

When the Nexus One was first released, it would only respond to touch from one finger at a time, making gestures like pinch-and-zoom impossible. To zoom in, you had to double-tap the phone’s screen instead.

Although multitouch is still in its infancy, larger devices like the iPad hold the promise of a completely new language of gestures for interacting with computers. If touch computing is indeed the future, Google certainly doesn’t want to be cut off from it.

There was some speculation that Google had initially backed off from implementing multitouch because Apple, a rather litigious company, held patents around it. But software interfaces are rather difficult to protect compared to hardware, and the Apple-Google relationship has only grown more tense over the past year. The two companies have come to increasingly encroach on each other’s territory with the rise of Google’s Android mobile operating system and Apple’s hesitance in opening up its app store to Google-designed software.

Google’s software update also has a few other bonuses. It’s added a night viewing setting for Google Maps. And Google Goggles, its visual search app, now comes automatically with the Nexus One.

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