Yes, we certified Apple watchers love to bash Google. There is much to bash. After all, who gives away free candy to get users hooked so they turn over all their private information just to get more free candy?
Google, right? OK, Facebook, too. But Facebook is somewhat insular. Many users think Facebook is the internet. It ain’t, folks. It’s just an advertising company that gives away freebies in exchange for… insert drum roll here… private information. Like Facebook, Google is what it has always been. An advertising company.
What we get from Google as users is free software and free information. Look on the iOS App Store and you’ll see a couple of dozen Google apps. Of those, I have a few favorites.
Google Maps – Apple’s Maps has improved, but Google Maps seems to do a better job with the details and traffic.
Google Search – Not only does Google show up as the default search engine in Safari, Google has a Google search app for iOS with more features. As much as I hate to get involved in Google’s ecosystem, the search results are better than Bing. Or, Yahoo! Or, anything else.
Google Photos – This isn’t much of a contest, either. Apple’s Photos app– Mac or iPhone– is less when compared to Google Photos on iPhone. More options, better filters, easier organization. Almost free, too (you pay for extra storage, but even those prices have come down to match iCloud).
Google Assistant – Assistant is everything I want Siri to be. Fast, intuitive, able to understand context, and the human-like voice makes Siri seem very 1999. There’s just no way yet to get Assistant to act like Siri on iOS. “Hey, Assistant…” would be nice.
Those are the best, but I’ve tried others. Google Calendar is decent and mimics Calendar on macOS and iOS. Google Tasks is a very good to-do task manager. There isn’t anything else like YouTube. Google Translate is as good as online translation can get. Google Street View– it’s an iOS app– is very cool to dig down into a specific location. Oh, and Google Earth.
I have a list of Google apps I won’t use, too.
Google Chrome – Compared to Safari, Firefox, Vivaldi, Brave, and others, Chrome is anemic and a battery hog.
Google Gmail – Improved in Chrome, but limited because it’s, well, Gmail only. I have other email accounts.
Google Drive – Think of Drive as Google’s iCloud counterpart, now with more competitive pricing, especially at the entry-level– 15GB for free vs. 5GB for iCloud and 2GB for Dropbox. But the secret to using a cloud service is application integration and iCloud and Dropbox win the day.
Google+ – Puhleeze. Stupid name. Facebook it ain’t.
Google Hangouts – Nice idea, poorly implemented, always felt like a beta to me.
Google Apps – These are Docs, Sheets, Slides– counterparts to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote from Apple, and Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from Microsoft. Anemic at best. Fortunately for Google, Chromebook and Android users don’t know any better.
That’s just scratching the surface. Hit the iOS App Store and do a search on Google. You’ll find Google apps you didn’t know existed. Gboard? Google Opinion Rewards? Google Arts & Culture?
Clearly, for many of Apple’s faithful, using Google is a love-hate relationship.