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Fresh iPhone Apps for October 6: Updates for Google Mobile, Netflix and Kindle

by Phil Hornshaw

Three popular free apps received some big updates recently. Check out what they are, and grab these cool apps if you don’t have them already, in today’s Fresh iPhone Apps.

Google Mobile update (iPhone, iPad) Free

Google’s mobile search app already was a pretty solid piece of software. Its best feature up to now has been the voice search feature, which allowed users to speak what they were looking for into the iPhone’s microphone and run a fast search without all the typing.

Now the company is rolling out another simplifier – Google Goggles, a search function that makes use of the iPhone’s camera. Aiming the camera at an object sends it out to the search engine, and Google pins down what the thing is and gives you the relevant results without any other work on your part.

The new feature is still a little wonky, but the rest of Google Mobile works as well as it ever did. Expect to see frequent updates until Google its Goggles on straight and focused.

Netflix update (iPhone, iPad) Free

As long as we’re talking about updates, iPhone 4 users have great news – Netflix’s mobile video streaming app now has TV out capability, which means you can plug your iPhone 4 into your set and watch streaming movies on a much bigger screen.

This is great news for Netflix users who don’t have a compatible streaming device such as a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Netflix Instant, the DVD rental service’s streaming counterpart, has a huge wealth of TV shows and movies available to its users. It was cool enough to be able to watch something like 10,000 films on their iPhones using a 3G or Wi-Fi connection – but it’s much cooler to be able to use the iPhone’s Internet to get those videos on a real TV.

Unfortunately, TV out doesn’t work for older phone owners, but Netflix’s customer service is pretty great. It’s likely that if the company can make the feature work for iPhone 3G and 3GS, it will.

Amazon Kindle update (iPhone, iPad) Free

Okay, one more update. Kindle for iPhone pretty much transforms your mobile device into Amazon’s proprietary e-reader, and it’s a pretty nice one, too. The new update to the app adds two cool features, and the whole thing is free.

The first of the additions is the ability to flip Kindle to landscape view on an iPad and see two pages at once, like a real book, instead of just one. Before, landscape view would show the same page you were just reading in vertical view, except spread out wide. This minor change makes the app feel more like reading a physical book, which is always nice.

Another change provides short-hand information about some books, outlining characters, key plot points and even spoilers on a new “Extras” screen. For longer, more convoluted books, this is a nice little feature to help simplify the content of a book and keep you informed. It’s especially nice when you put a book down for a bit, then return to it and have trouble remembering what’s going on.