Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > eBay/Yahoo/Google

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Google Wireless Transcoder

When Google wanted to offer its search engine on mobile platforms, developers were faced with an interesting dilemma: Even if they could make the search engine interface usable by mobile devices, the search results would be mostly useless—more so if the mobile device used WAP 1.x. In typical Google fashion, they developed an ingenious solution: Google Wireless Transcoder (GWT), an application that can transform regular web pages into a mobile-friendly format or even recode them in WML.

Google Wireless Transcoder is used automatically if you start a Google search from a mobile device:

  • When the Google page (for example, http://www.google.com/) detects that you’re using a mobile device, it redirects the browser to the Google mobile search (http://www.google.com/m).
  • The Google mobile search interface is already well suited to the limitations of mobile devices. For example, it serves WML to WAP 1.x devices.
  • When the search engine presents the results, links to result pages are redirected automatically through the Google Wireless Transcoder (http://www.google.com/gwt/n?u=URL).

If the browser supports WAP 2.0, GWT adapts the HTML markup from the original web page to the usual screen limitations of a mobile device:

  • Navigational elements are compressed into expandable sections.
  • If the web page contains several heading elements (H1, H2, and so on), GWT inserts a link into the table of contents that displays the headings and the first few words of each section, significantly reducing navigation challenges.
  • Images are (optionally) removed from the web page.

If the mobile device supports only WAP 1.x, GWT transforms the web page into corresponding WML structure.

The Google developers went even further to support poorly designed web sites that rely on JavaScript: GWT parses and executes at least parts of the JavaScript attached to the web page—enough to recognize pop-up windows and other JavaScript-based links.

You can test the GWT functionality on any web site of your choice. Go to the GWT URL (http://www.google.com/gwt/n) in your browser and enter in the input box the URL of the site you want to see. For your convenience, I’ve prepared a typical poorly designed web page that you can view in your browser or transcoded with GWT.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account