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April 21, 2010

The Best Google Mobile Apps, Only for Android

Google Mobile's page for Android has an interesting message: "The best Google Mobile applications are available for phones that run the Android operating system". That may seem obvious, considering that Google developed a lot of applications only for Android: Gmail, Google Talk, Google Finance, Google Goggles, Google Maps Navigation, Google Shopper and more.

Google's applications are one of the most important competitive advantage for Android, but that doesn't mean that some of the applications couldn't run on other platforms. If Google didn't develop Android, many of the applications would be available in Apple's App Store. Google claims that it takes "great care to ensure that [its tools] ultimately serve you, rather than [its] own internal goal or bottom line", but restricting innovative tools to a single platform doesn't benefit users.


  1. Fair criticism.

    The reasons for this could, of course, be many. It could just as well be a mundane question of developing resource allocation as it could be flat-out OS propaganda.

    These apps seem to belong in the App Store. I hope they arrive there eventually.

  2. With the relationship Google and Apple have had lately I can't really blame Google. Google Voice is my favorite Android app, but Apple didn't allow it. Why waste your resources building an app if it might get rejected?

    They sort of develop BB apps but the BB development is not as easy.

    They might eventually expand them to more services, but a developer I would imagine will start to look at Android first and Apple later, because of how open it is.

  3. You should probably put the blame on Apple instead. Look what happened when Google tried to release a Google Voice app on the iPhone. And most other Google apps will likely be rejected due to it providing the same functionality as the internal apps.

  4. To be persnickety, "The best Google Mobile applications are available for phones that run the Android operating system" doesn't preclude "The best Google Mobile applications are available for the iPhone." I don't see the latter statement on the iPhone page, though:

    "Stay connected on the go with iPhone apps by Google."

    Of course on the iPhone page there's no Latitude or Google Voice, because of Apple's preference rather than Google's. There's also no Google Goggles (or Google Listen or My Tracks, which are not so formally promoted or supported by Google). I think these latter cases reflect Google's initial need to jump-start Android development with compelling apps rather than an effort to dis other operating systems. Overall, though, I agree that Google is promoting its Android apps more strongly than those on other platforms. But Google is a big company, and in the big picture I see its services, not the applications that use those services, as being in the driver's seat. So I expect Google overall to support other platforms, if not with the fervor it supports Android.

  5. Porting applications to iPhone OS takes resources, I hope iPhone eventually gets the as well but I would not be surprised if most of the 20% time apps only work with Android. Also, remember the Google Voice fiasco.

  6. Yeah, I don't know why you sound so critical of Google for not having some apps on the App Store. Apple rejected Google Voice several times, Google Goggles is still beta, and with Apple's nazi-like approval process why would Google bother wasting its time on an OS that supports censorship anyway? Google is only hurt by censorship, which you know they're fighting against.

  7. Your article is rather one sided. Apple has a history of blocking very useful Apps that users want. If that wasn't bad enough, they don't give reasons as to why the apps were blocked so that developers can make sure not to make the same mistake. This is what happened with Google Voice. I'm surprised Google makes anything for Apple platforms anymore. I'm surprised anyone does.

  8. Have you got any evidence that any of these apps would be approved on the app store?

  9. Just because Apple blocked two Google applications (Voice and Latitude), that doesn't mean Google shouldn't develop other iPhone applications. Many Google services improve faster if they have more users, so restricting applications like Google Goggles to a single platform doesn't benefit Android users.

  10. Keep in mind that besides native apps, Google has some excellent mobile versions of services like GMail, Reader, Docs, ... which work on any mobile platform. I don't see Apple releasing iWorks apps for other platforms any time soon.

    So I agree with the sentiments in the comments here:
    - Apple has itself to blame for making iPhone/iPad an extremely closed, proprietary system (they're worse than MS in that respect).
    - Google is perfectly entitled to spend more resources on it's own platform first, yet is taking the high ground in the apple/google feud.


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