Jun 11 AT 8:54 AM Dustin Earley 48 Comments

According to recent rumor reports from all around the web, Apple will be ditching Google Maps as their default mapping application, and providing their own Open Street Map powered solution. The question of “what does this mean” for Apple is certainly intriguing. (What kinds of new technology will be used? Will third-party developers be using Apple’s maps? Will iOS and OSX powered devices be the only ones to see Apple’s new maps?) But the question of “what does this mean” for Google and Android is almost more interesting. It could bring big changes to the way Google handles cross-platform applications.

Google has never been one to turn down an opportunity to work with Apple. Plenty of Google products have crossed platform lines in the past. However, now that both companies are creating dueling products, in more than one arena, you have to wonder. How will Google handle it?

Will maps be the app that pushes Google to toss iOS users aside, or will it be the final shove into a new era of full-featured Google apps on iOS devices?

Maps

If Apple drops Google maps in favor of their own mapping service, two questions come to mind: Will Google create their own third-party map application for iOS devices, and if they do, will they intentionally hold back features in order to drive users to Android?

Google would be foolish to waste this opportunity. Not only would they have more control over their maps app on iOS than they currently do, but they’d still make a boat-load of money on advertising. As far as holding back features goes, there’s no way Google would not give iOS users a reason to switch to Android. That reason would most likely be navigation. If they held back much more than that, the app would be sub-par, and a waste of time on Google’s part.

Consumer choice is a great thing, and thanks to the various laws that help bolster consumer choice and stop anti-competitive actions from big companies like Apple, Google should have no problem releasing a maps app for iOS. And I have a good feeling they will.

Drive

Does Apple have a product that competes with Google Drive? Yes and no. While Google drive can be seen as a Dropbox and iCloud competitor in some ways, it’s really just Google Docs. Which means iWork and iCloud would have to be mashed together, and reworked to truly compete with Drive. So will Google totally embrace iOS with Drive?

The fact that a Drive app for iOS is coming soon has already been revealed. To answer the question of whether or not Google will hold back features in the iOS Drive app comes down to one thing: is there anything compelling enough in Drive to push iOS users to Android? In my mind, the answer to that question is no.

Unlike with maps, Drive does have a decent amount of competition. No one single solution may be as full-featured as Drive, but other similar apps do have their own special advantages over Drive. If Google doesn’t release a full fledged Drive app for iOS users, most will just use something else.

I’d be shocked if when Google releases a Drive app for iOS, it’s missing features.

Music

Google Music is awesome. Thanks to Google Music, I’ve been able to upload my entire music collection, straight from iTunes, and listen to it anywhere I go. On my phone, someone else’s computer, really anywhere with web access. Would Google ever be crazy enough to bring a full featured Google Music client to iOS?

To answer that question, we first have to take a look at what kind of features Google could hold back, or rather, wouldn’t want to include.

When you press the Google Play button in Google Music, you’re taken directly to the Google Play store, where you can buy more music. This would not be possible on iOS. For multiple reasons. I’m not incredibly well versed in iOS in-app purchase guidelines, but I believe Google wouldn’t even be allowed to offer a link to visit the Google Music store online. Because Apple wouldn’t get a cut of the sales. Or if they did offer a link to the Google Music store online, they’d be losing money to their biggest competitor.

Theoretically, if Google were to release a Google Music app on iOS, it would be a way to access your Google Music account’s music. That’s it. Yes, it would push more iOS users to ditch iTunes, and buy their music from Google on the web, and sure, Google could find some way to insert ads and make some cash there, but would it be enough?

If Google wants to make some serious cash with Google Music, it just may be. But remember, you can sync your iTunes music to your Google Music account. And you don’t have to pay any subscription fees like with iTunes Match. How many people do you think would simply buy their music from iTunes, and just use Google Music as an online storage locker?

There are a lot of pros and cons when it comes to releasing a Google Music app on iOS, including the fact that its pretty damn great, and Google might want to keep that to themselves. I wouldn’t expect to see a Google Music client on iOS anytime soon, but you never know.

Chrome

Chrome has never really been any better on one platform or another. It’s always been Google’s vessel to the web as we know it. As far as Google products go, Chrome is the one they should be most proud of. It’s amazing in the best ways possible, and the same rings true for the Android version that was released a short time ago. Will iOS users ever get to bask in the sweet glory of the best mobile web browser ever created?

Google has never had a more personal stake in Chrome than it does now. In the past year, Chrome OS has blossomed into a much more serious contender in the desktop/laptop war. The hardware on which Chrome OS runs has made a couple changes now, and the the OS itself has done nothing but consistently improve. And then there’s Chrome for Android.

I know it may sound like I’m over exaggerating here, but even if you payed me cash money, every single day, to use the stock browser on my Galaxy Nexus instead of Chrome, I wouldn’t do it. It really is that good. So why would Google ever want to share it with Apple and iOS?

Chrome has always been totally independent of Android. And it still remains that way. If Google were to say, “from JellyBean forward, Chrome will be the default web-browser on Android,” things may be different. But I still don’t know if I see that happening quite yet. With they way Chrome has worked in the past, I can’t imagine Google holding back.

Google would love to steal Safari Mobile’s market share right out from under Apple, and Chrome for iOS would be the perfect solution. Especially if it was just a full-featured as the Android version is. The big advantage of Chrome on Android over iOS? On Android you can set it as the default browser. Everything you do with the web will be done through Chrome if you want it that way.

On iOS, not so much. And by the 50th time a wishy-washy iOS user opens a link in twitter and it pops up in Safari, and not Chrome, they just might consider a fancy new Nexus as their next device.

Bring on Chrome for iOS, it’s only a matter of time now.

Wrap up

Google may have a decent portfolio of apps available on both Android and iOS right now. But some of their best apps and services, like Maps, Music, Drive and Chrome, have yet to cross platform lines.

I’ve done more than my fair share of speculating above, so now it’s your turn. How do you think Google will handle their apps and services outside of Android? Will they embrace iOS, and give it their best shot? Or will nothing change? And while we’re at it, what about other platforms? I can’t imagine Google staying up at night, mulling over whether or not to release a Drive app on Windows Phone, but maybe they are. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • YellowDucati

    The better Google apps on Android are one great reason to choose Android over iOS.

    • YMS123

      One of many

    • SGB101

      I don’t think google care if you use android / iOS/ wp7/ windows / or mac , as long as they are using google products, so they can serve their adds and collect the signals generated .

      • 4n1m4l

        Exactly.

      • zerosix

        Actually, Google cares.
        Because they want not only to show you ads, but gather as much information about you as possible and totally control your life to provide you better ads… Services, I mean.
        I don’t say, that it’s bad (but I think, that it’s bad), in our time of twitter, facebook and g+ we ourselves give our private information to everybody.

        • Hadarmil

          Aluminum hats to all!

          Every now and again there comes the “El Goog is watching! ” nonsense. If anyone is watching then it’s your mobile network who knows where you are… location data can be obtained without GPS…

      • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

        I think Google didn’t care a few years ago on what platforms their products were used. I don’t think Google will withdraw all their Google apps from iOS, but I definitely don’t see how Google Music could make its way into iOS. Google needs to decide if Google Apps will have all the features on all operating systems. I strongly think Chrome will make its way into iOS, because it is just too good not to show it off in front of Apple. Since Google Drive has a web interface, it would be unwise not to be available on iOS. As an Android user, I would want Google Maps to have all the available options on Android only, since Apple was so eager to enforce its own maps app.

      • LEKO

        Yup! Never forget something: Google first business is serving you Ads!

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Apple is a bitch hopefully google takes away youtube and everything. Apple is so greedy they don’t give anything in return although that does give google more business.

    • kazahani

      That would not be helpful. Google’s open-source approach to smartphones is exactly the reason why they would want to develop for a competing platform, never mind the fact that they would be generating revenue for themselves. Apple’s closed-source (and some would say closed-minded) approach is exactly why they would never consider developing for Android, and I say it’s costing them.

      Let’s think about this in reverse: What if Apple decided to make an itunes app for Android? That’s what we’re talking about here.

      • Hadarmil

        Apple have a policy of only talking of the competition in keynote jokes as part of their regular PR bull. Making an iTunes client is basically admitting Android is a viable option to iOS. Not going to happen.

        • kazahani

          I know it’s not ever happening, I was merely pointing out that a Google Music client for iOS would be a similar maneuver on Google’s part.

          • LEKO

            I don’t agree. It would just prove Google is not AGAINST Apple, but AGAINST close systems.

            IMO, if Apple would offer iTunes for Android it would boost their music sells, but would surely affect iOS devices sells. Apple don’t want to loose sells.

            Google don’t make money directly with Android. Google Music would benifits from a multi-platform support. Users could then have an SGS3, a iPad, etc… Name it! Customers would have more choices and Google would still makes money with music sells and ads.

    • oga

      Apple doesnt give the ordinary consumer ‘anything’ in return but gives the developers ‘everthing’ in return.Come to think of it,the developers make your platform a huge hit whether you like it or not

  • Jorge Vieira

    I do believe all willcross over except for chrome, just dont see apple letting it through. I love all the google apps and as of now trying to acces them on my iOS devices are a pain! Especially music i would love to be able to play iall my music n the backgroud on my ipad. If only one made it i woyld love it to be google music. One of the big things i use when people ask me about iphone verse android i always use google apps as an advantage they really do enhance the android experience.

  • h0ruza

    Maps is undoubtedly the best app Google has made to date. Apples move only serves to illustrate how much Apple sees Google as a threat to its earnings.

    The depth of Google maps is unrivalled so if the rumours are true Apple is prepared to be questioned about its end user experience against its out and out greed.

    Lets ask them!

  • 4n1m4l

    Google makes money on advertising. Android is one of many platforms which they advertise on. It would be foolish to do anything to lose consumers eyes and thusly revenue.

  • LilSmurf2009

    I think they will launch there own app on ios, but i dont think it will be as great as on Android.

  • Chaoz

    What will be interesting though is if they make their own map application that is shipped with iOS if they then ban google maps because it is a competing product. There are a few products that have been banned from iOS because they are simliar to apps that comes with iOS.

  • gmaninvan

    Good Read. Very objective points.

  • Skis03

    I install every Google app their is available! They are always at the forefront of innovation on anDROIIIIDDDDD!!!

    • kazahani

      Well they kind of made it, so…

  • Ps3y3Ops

    Regardless of platform, Google should continue to do what it does best – innovate. They have never held back and never will because they are always asking and answering what can we do to make things better, faster and easier than anyone else, all for the benefit of the user. We are loyal supporters because we get it, and Google will continue to grow as others get it, too.

  • glennw

    I don’t think Google should put any restrictions on any of the apps they release for iOS, other than the restrictions already put in place by Apple. That way no one can blame Google of being anti-competitive for having certain features in Android, yet not including them for iOS. And if anyone laments the fact that Google’s Android apps are better-featured than their iOS counterparts, they’d only have their Apple overlords to blame.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Google and Android is the ONLY platform I will ever have any desire for. Chrome, Gmail, YouTube,Google Maps, Google music, Google drive, as well all the other apps like Google goggles, Google earth, Google talk and Google plus apple can only wish they had anything like it. The overall IOS platform is a joke.

    • Max.Steel

      Do you mean what you’re saying just like you meant what you were saying about Sprint and your Evo?

      • jonathan3579

        He always means what he’s saying, lol. The problem is that nothing he says amounts to anything.

    • Division by Zero

      You said the exact same thing about Sprint, HTC, and the Evo-branded devices less than a year ago. You even said that nothing would ever beat them. Then, you were “rolling with the big boys on Verizon” (your words) just a few months ago. Are you schizophrenic as well as retarded?

    • redraider133

      So you make Google all of the billions of dollars? Sorry dick Google is about making money and you do not make them all their money so they have to support other platforms. Ill use your own words you like to use and say you probably never even buy any apps or anything other than the phone.

  • Dee

    You forgot the painful iteration of YouTube on iOS. It’s a tragedy and it needs a serious re working. I have my nexus though so idc whether or not Google brings it out.

  • n25philly

    I’m always amazed by how many people still use the pure garbage that itunes is. Haven’t tried chome on android yet but hopefully it has a much better interface than the pc version.

    • NotRelevent

      The store is fine, it’s the app built around said store that sucks ass

  • Simeone

    Article author throws in Chrome like it’s a possible to have on I devices – It’s not, thanks to stupid store policies.

    There’s a reason why Firefox is only available on Android.

  • JPB

    Part of the reason I stay with Android is that I know I can use Google Music, GDrive, Maps, Chrome, GMail, GCalendar EVERYWHERE – Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS. I don’t have to buy into any one ecosystem to use them. It’s just there, everywhere I need it.

    I think the best ammunition for Google to win over fans to their Android platform IS their apps. Google should do everything allowable to make their apps as good on iOS as Android. This positions them as the “good guys” being more truly open and platform neutral than Apple. Make Google Maps/Navigation on iOS better than Apple’s and be sure to put the same goodness into the Android version.

    Then, be sure to tie them nicely together, integrate the heck out of them on Android. Google will probably not be able to match the integration on Apple’s closed platform so the whole package of Google apps on Android will naturally be a better fit.

  • Matt

    Other platform just g:Go google dont hold your love to other platform just give ios windows phone an equal apss maybe limited to the policy of apple and windows. It shows that youre really love to innovate unlike apple .. look apple if suddenly google decided to take away maps and youtube from all of your i product witout flash you simply cant view youtube on your mobile device

  • vasra

    You do understand that Chrome cannot be ported to iOS due to the inane restrictions Apple places on 3rd party browser: everything must use WebKit. In effect, 3rd party browsers are little more than glorified UI shells.

    Chrome can NOT be ported to IOS, unless Apple completely changes their developer restrictions for 3rd party apps.

    Chrome needs V8 to run, and Apple doesn’t allow for that.

    • Chevy

      If Chrome needs a V8 to run then I wouldn’t want to run such an inefficient browser in the first place……but I’m guessing you just picked a poor analogy.

      • qunow

        Not that chrome need V8 to run, but that’s Chrome include a JavaScript engine called V8 making Chrome’s performance better than Safari on Windows and Mac. But using it would not be possible on IOS.

        • Chevy

          Ah ha! Figured there was something that I was missing. Thanks for clarifying :)

    • Daniel

      Actually, there are no (written) App Store policy rules preventing browsers from running without WebKit. In fact, Opera Mini does just that.

      The problem here is a *technical* one, in that no apps (with the very specific exception of Safari) can mark memory as executable. Without that, there’s no V8, and without V8, there’s very little point in Chrome, as it’d be much slower than Safari, no matter how nice its UI could be.

      In fact, other iOS browsers (like Dolphin, or those embedded on apps like Twitter) are all kinda slow for that reason: even though they use the very same WebKit as Safari, they can’t compile JavaScript to native code, so JSKit uses a slower interpreter.

      • qunow

        The reason Opera mini is possible on iOS is that it does not render pages on the device, instead it render pages on server. Apple would only permit browser rendered locally using third-party rendering engine to be on App store. That’s why there are no Firefox for iOS nor Opera mobile for iOS but just Firefox Home and Opera mini. Similarly, Chrome for iOS would not be possible as long as it render locally and not using safari as core unless Apple change its policy.

  • alterSchw3de

    Google Music was the one advantage of android which led me buy a Sony Xperia P instead of a Windows Phone 7 device.

  • smeghead68

    google maps is one of the best apps out there. What would apple have that competes with maps. this is going to be interesting to say the least.

  • Daniel Smedegaard Buus

    Well, obviously Apple want to go their own way. They believe they can do it all themselves, and they also seem to believe (cue recent patent trolling) that they invented the universe.

    I say, let them do it. Cut them off and let them see how well it fares. Cut off all support and use all your patents to sue their pathetic asses off. Let’s see how the Apple fanboys like being constantly 10 steps behind on their ridiculously outdated OS.

    I have now an Air, and I was forced to use OS X for a year as Linux wasn’t quite ready. In the meantime, I’ve grown to love that OS, and I’m planning on keeping it. Had I no had the choice to install *what I want* that OS had been wiped in favor of MS-DOS 9 months ago.

    Free choice is what we all want. Quality free choice. Fine, people exist who cannot use a phone or a computer, and they need Apple to reduce the possibilities so they fail less often. Fine, people exist who are so geeky or so much gamers that they accept what Redmond sends out. Fine, people exist that are so free choice and openness, that they accept constantly having to deal with a penguin’s quirkynesses. Etc.

    The point is free choice and free development. This is what benefits us all, regardless of which category or categories we fall into (I stumble and fall into each one, (un)fortunately).

    Death to anyone – and their families – who try to obstruct freedom and free development in order to gain more $$$. F*** you all so much. May you die painfully.

  • DarthVader

    lol.. Why is everyone hating on Apple?
    Give Apple some credit.. Before iPhone, the touch screen was a disaster. After iPhone, the user experience has been greatly improved. (Thanks to Google copying Apple).
    Android is a good product, and it’s for nerds and people who have a lot of time playing on their phones. Yeah I said it..

    • LEKO

      Many people does not hate the “whole” Apple. Actually, I love Apple, they gave me the opportunity to discover Android. I work for a carrier and it can’t offer the iPhone (not compatible with our 4G network). So I bought a Nexus One and now I have a Nexus S.

      I would probably own a iPhone if I had the choice 2 years ago. I must admit, before Android 4.0.1, I was not convinced about Android “superiority”. But with ICS, which is stable, smooth and fast, I look less and less at iOS devices. iOS 6 was also a disapointment for me.

  • Stephan

    Google would be better off updating and adding new features to there apps. Android is the better OS and people need to be reminded of the many options that are available.

  • Bogomips

    Who says Apple will even allow Google to publish these enhanced apps to the appstore? If Apple is moving away from Google, they wouldn’t want competitive products inside their walled garden…

    Once you buy the apple, you will the eat apple pie they tell you to eat!! Not doughnuts, not cupcakes, not eclairs…