Google Sync Upgrade In Time to Pull Users from iCloud?

Google released three new features and enhancements to the iOS version of its Google Sync app, which lets users connect to their Google account and related cloud services. Google has polished the Android version of the app more than the iOS version, but iPhone, iPod and iPad users will be now be able to do three more things they couldn’t before – starting with server search.

“Server search. Instead of limiting email searches to the mail stored locally in the iOS Mail application, searches can be extended to Google’s Gmail servers. This is how Gmail in Android works, and it brings value because of Gmail’s archive feature. Unless mail is specifically put in the Trash, its available for searches forever.”

The second new addition to the app comes in the form of calendar invites. Users can accept, decline or edit Google Calendar events within the Google Sync interface. Last but not least, it is now possible to choose from which email address they want to send their message using a drop down menu.

These three updates are good news for iOS users, and are a part of the ongoing iOS vs. Android battle.  Millennial Media released its MobileMix report today, in which it revealed that Apple is still the no. 1 manufacturer on its mobile network with its devices accounting for 45 percent of all ad impressions last month. Android is currently close at hand with 42 percent.

Going back to Google Sync, there seems to be another motive behind the update. The company could’ve released earlier, but it seems that the timing has to do with Apple’s recently announced iCloud service. Google may be trying to lure users into its ecosystem before the iCloud becomes available– something that it has already accomplished, at least partially, within the developer community. Back at WWDC, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster surveyed 45 developers, and almost half of which said they are also developing apps for iOS.

Over on Android, an iCloud counterpart called Lightbox just came out of beta. The media storage service has a unique twist to it, by that that it makes use of local storage.