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Getting Started with the Google Ecosystem for the iPhone

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Getting Started with the Google Ecosystem for the iPhone

The iPhone is an excellent piece of hardware but Apple’s stock apps leave much to be desired. This article examines how to get started with the Google ecosystem on your iPhone.

The Google ecosystem encompasses several apps and is a vast topic. This article is part of a series about using the Google ecosystem on iOS. It’s best to start this journey with an overview and cover one basic example of inter-app synergy. Subsequent articles provide a complete view of the Google ecosystem.

Most of the tips in this series will also work on an iPad and iPod touch. Unfortunately, Google Calender is not available for the iPad. The full Google ecosystem works best on an iPhone and it’s also Apple’s most popular device. For the purposes of this series, we’ll use the iPhone for all examples.

Apple Creates Great Hardware and Mediocre Apps

When Apple Maps was launched, there was a furor over its poor quality. It really wasn’t a horrible app, but it wasn’t as good as Google Maps. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Apple is notorious for developing mediocre first-party apps. Music, Safari, iTunes Store, Photos and News are all surprisingly average releases from the largest tech company on the planet. The only Apple-developed app that impresses me is GarageBand. That may be because they originally sold the app, and therefore could justify better developers on the product team.

Corporations have their expertise. After all, you wouldn’t expect McDonald’s to unveil a line of flat screen TVs. Even pizzas prove challenging for the fast food empire. Similarly, some tech companies excel at certain endeavors and struggle with others. Apple creates the best hardware and operating systems. Google makes remarkable Internet-based applications. When Google tried to make hardware, after acquiring Motorola, they quickly discovered it just wasn’t their expertise. They deserve a lot of praise for realizing this. Apple still hasn’t learned that they aren’t great app developers. Fortunately, you don’t have to use Apple’s stock apps. You can download an entire ecosystem of Google apps for your iPhone. These apps work together to provide a near-seamless user experience for iOS.

The fan boy wars have polarized technology. There are Apple fans and Google fans, battling it out on social media and website comments. If you own an iPhone, you don’t have to use Apple’s apps. If you wear jeans, you don’t have to wear a denim shirt, denim cap, denim socks and denim underwear. That may sound like a ludicrous outfit, but I think anyone steeped in the Apple ecosystem is similarly ridiculous. I understand that brand loyalty is a real thing, but you can use better apps at no cost. For some, it’s just easier to use what’s already installed. Others may believe that because Apple makes great hardware, everything they make must be great. It’s not.

Google Apps Work Together

Google offers a complete set of apps for iOS. These apps work together and can invoke each other. For example, if I am using the Google app and ask for directions, these can be opened in Google Maps. Just about every Google app has settings for app integration. Users can specify which apps take over more specific tasks. This is essential because, unlike Apple, Google cannot set up these dependencies on a fresh install of iOS. Configuring Google apps to work together is very simple. Once you get it up and running, you won’t even have to think about it.

Google Apps Work on More Platforms

Apart from iTunes and Apple Music, the Apple ecosystem is limited to Apple devices. This doesn’t work for most iPhone owners, as they often use Windows PCs. Apps such as Calendar, Maps, Photos and Mail don’t work on Windows or other operating systems. This is a deal-breaker for many iPhone owners. (continue…)

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