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Summary:

Even when vying for industry dominance, sometimes a company’s competitors are also its best friends. This is definitely true of Apple and Google when it comes to the cloud. Here’s a look at just a few of the ways Apple’s platform is dependent on Google services.

google-apps-feature

Even when vying for industry dominance, sometimes a company’s competitors are also its best friends.  This is definitely true of Apple and Google   when it comes to the cloud.  I took inventory of the apps on my iPhone and found no less than twenty apps from first- and third-party sources that tapped into various Google web-based services. By contrast, only Apple’s own various MobileMe apps plugged into its cloud offerings. Here’s a rundown of just how dependent Apple’s smartphone is on the services of its current biggest rival.

Google Services via Apps From Google

Seven of the apps I’ve installed to access Google’s cloud-based services come directly from Google itself.  When Apple relaxed some of its App Store restrictions (and perhaps thanks to a little help from the FCC), Google brought Google Voice to iOS devices.  More recently, Google introduced its official Latitude app, which also took the long way round to the App Store.  Lets not forget Google’s new e-book challenger, Google Books, which debuted this month as well. Rounding out the list are Google Mobile, Google Authenticate, Google Earth  and Panoramio, which adds up to a considerable direct investment in the iOS platform.

Built-In Google Services Integration

Let’s not forget that the iPhone (and iPad) supports Google right out of the box. Apple has integrated support for many Google cloud-based services. With Mail, Maps, YouTube, Calendar, Contacts and Notes, you can get up and running quickly using your Google credentials.  While with Maps, YouTube and Mail, things are fairly straightforward, integrating Contacts, Calendars and Notes is a little more difficult, but the fact remains that support for Google services exists in all of these apps.

Google Services from Everybody Else

Even with all the integration provided by Google and Apple, there’s still plenty of room for third-party developers, too.  For access to Google’s Reader service, many have found Reeder to be the best of breed across all iOS devices.  If instant messaging is your thing, and you’re looking to use Google Talk, then there’s IM+ Pro and Beejive, among others.  For integration with Google Docs, DocsToGo  is about as good as it gets.  There are even solutions to integrate with your Picasa photo library online (Web Albums), keep the world up to date by posting to your Blogger account (BlogPress), and remind yourself about what needs do be done with Google Tasks (GeoTaskLite).

Granted, Google has more than twenty cloud-based services available today, and has been active in the space for far longer than Apple. One can only hope that Google will continue its commitment to the iOS platform, and not make its services an exclusive platform advantage for Android.  At the end of the day, it’s all about revenue, which for Google means search and ad-based revenue, so the company probably isn’t about to ignore what is arguably the most desired and top smartphone platform. But does that excuse Apple dragging its heels on providing competing, better-integrated services of its own available to all its iPhone customers (and not just MobileMe subscribers)? I’m not so sure.

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  1. Gigaom is really starting to sound like the PR branch of Google recently. There’s a place for enthusiasm, but this level of promotion and defense, of gushing boosterism, of a company raises serious questions about the honesty and integrity of this site: Direct payments? In exchange for favors from Google? Trying to boost your personal stock holdings? Or, simply a complete lack of critical thought from hopelessly infatuated writer who swoon when they hear of anything Google?

    1. This blog has really gone downhill since the buyout. There’s way too many negative articles.

      1. Totally agree. I’ve also noticed lifehacker is quite anti-Apple: every announcement they make that’s related to Mac has the subtitle: ‘for what it’s worth’.
        ipodtouchfans is good.

    2. I am about as pro iOS and anti Android as one can get. When it comes to iOS apps accessing Google services, that is the best of both worlds. Google should leave the operating system and hardware to Apple, and Apple should continue to take advantage of Googles services where ever possible.

      1. This article isn’t about Android vs. iOS. It’s about gushing, uncritical praise of all things Google. No mention of the dark side of Google services, the tracking, the privacy violation, the increasing control of access to data by Google. Anyone who seems this much in love with “the Google way” has either lost the ability of thoughtful analysis or is ignoring the negatives intentionally.

  2. nice article..
    though yeah Google is not evil so they’ll always make apps for iOS/android etc..
    the question is will Jobs allow more of the ‘google branded apps’ in his os?

  3. No doubt Google technology is always attract companies and industry today. And iPhone technology with Google is like 100% truly satisfactory products for users. Thanks for sharing

    1. Exactly the point. One does not have to look to Android in order to have a great Google experience on a smart phone.

  4. When Apple gets into free cloud-based services, it will no doubt be a first class experience compared with others including comparable Google services. Apple is no doubt working on such future services as we speak.

    1. Apple is already in the cloud. And I have been a member of those very cloud based services for quite som time now. I am looking forward to what Apple has in store for us in the coming months.

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