At this morning’s keynote conversation between Marissa Mayer (Google’s Vice President, Search Products & User Experience) and conference co-chair Danny Sullivan, when asked some questions about Google’s interests in mobile search and wireless applications, Marissa whipped out her iPhone and showed some features and user-interface aspects that she particularly admired by pulling up Google Maps and Google Voice Local Search service on the phone:
As we recently highlighted Google’s mobile phone development project , they apparently have quite a bit of interest in the mobile space. Obviously, they consider the iPhone to have very good user-interface design, since this very nearly amounted to a product endorsement. From watching this, I’d predict that Google is likely to be in talks with Apple to see if they couldn’t partner with them in some major way in order to get prominent placement through the iPhone platform, or perhaps even to persuade Apple to develop the hardware for the Google phone on their behalf.
I think it’s moderately unusual for a high-level company representative to tout another company’s product quite so dramatically, so perhaps this could be some advance indication of a potential deal between iPhone and Apple? It’s well-known that Google engineers are frequently dedicated Apple product users, so this wouldn’t be surprising.
Search Engine Roundtable reports on the keynote conversation between Mayer and Sullivan  in more detail.