Back before iOS Maps released to the public, I was using the beta software as often as I could. I did a lot of traveling around that time, too, and all of it was behind the wheel of my car. I drove from different states, from the Southwest to the Pacific Northwest, and I got to Point A to Point Whatever-Letter-Down-the-Line by using Apple’s Maps application. Of course, it usually didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Or, more accurately, the way I thought it should go. I wrote an article about how iOS’s Maps was rerouting me towards Windows Phone 8, and for the most part that’s exactly what happened.
But now we’re back to seeing things the way they should be: Google Maps is available for iOS, and all is right with the world. Indeed, I keep seeing in my Twitter feed how much better Google Maps is compared to iOS Maps. Based on past experiences, I’m sure that’s probably the case. However, I can’t really say one way or another. I haven’t been on an extended trip since Google Maps launched, nor do I plan on one anytime soon.
But, it got me thinking about Google in general, and the applications that the company has available for Apple’s mobile platform. I knew that Google had a lot of apps, but it wasn’t until this morning that I realized that it actually has more apps for iOS than Apple does. There are 17 apps “Designed by Apple” in the App Store right now, which range from Find My Friends to Pages. Google, on the other hand, has 23 applications, from Maps to Schemer.
That’s a significant amount, and considering the wide range of different services Google caters to with all of their iOS-based apps, it would be reasonable to assume that an iOS user could, for the most part, completely depend on Google services.
For me, personally, I use Google for quite a few different things. I use Drive quite frequently, especially when it comes to planning articles, but I do not use it on my phone. I’m not much of a fan of the Drive experience on a mobile device, so I stick to the desktop version as often as I can. Gmail, though, is an entirely different story. I jumped on the new Gmail for iOS when it launched, especially with the inclusion of multiple accounts. Push notifications didn’t hurt, either. (Actually, that’s a major reason why I installed it.) The new layout was a huge plus, too.
But, based on my personal usage, Gmail for iOS is pretty slow. And the sliding panels don’t always work, which get on my nerves more often than it probably should. So, while I’m still using Gmail proper, I’m no longer using the app directly. I still have it installed so I get notifications for incoming email messages for my separate accounts, but I open up Sparrow (so sad…) to read, respond, or delete messages.
I used to have Google Play Books on my phone, too, but since I’ve started to focus on getting my books from one source, so as not to waste money or space, I’ve discarded that app recently. I have Google+ installed on my phone, but for the life of me I can’t really figure out why. I never, ever open it, and it’s sitting on the last page of icons, as discarded as an app can be, I guess.
However, the app I use every day, and generally do quite depend on, is Chrome. I’ve grown accustomed to saving links and copying them over to Chrome; since Apple still wants me to use Safari as the default Browser, of course. While it isn’t as streamlined as I’d like it to be, it doesn’t make it a huge hassle, either. Having the benefit of using Chrome at all makes it worthwhile.
So that’s my Google-branded usage on my iOS-based device. I want to hear from you, Dear Reader. I want you to tell me how embedded with Google services you are, and how much you rely on them while you’re using your iOS device. Or, do you not use Google services, except behind the scenes, much like me? Let me know!