I'm just going to make one thing very clear right now: I love and hate Google. I can’t really explain it in its entirety, but Google in its current state is like, the overlord of the tech world. You can’t escape it. You want to search for something? Google is there for you. Need a new e-mail? Why not Gmail? You say you’re in the market for a new phone? Try one of our Google Android devices, we'll back you up.
Google has eyes and ears everywhere - along with convenient services that are mostly unified and easy-to-use. Honestly, without Google apps on my iPhone I probably would have ditched the thing a long time ago.
It's not that I don’t appreciate the iPhone for more than just its selection of Google Apps, because I do. I appreciate the simplicity of iOS, and they actually do have nice stock applications, and had I not discovered Google first I probably would have used things like Safari and Mail. But ever since I switched from Yahoo! Search to Google Search, my Internet habits practically snowballed to revolve around Google.
First it was just my searching habits. I used Yahoo! Because that's what my parents told me to use, but at some point when I was in my early teens somebody told me that Google was much more efficient at completing search requests. I tried it and had pretty good luck finding whatever I needed. Google was my new "go-to" guy to quench my thirst for knowledge on the Internet.
Then came Gmail. I didn’t start using Gmail until maybe two years after it was released, at the request of my older brother who was furious with my virus-spamming Hotmail ways (which probably had nothing to do with Hotmail itself so much as my not being able to tell what e-mails I should and shouldn’t click). Regardless, I tried it and once again, it worked for me and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Then came Android, then Chrome, and a slew of other Google products that just keep on piling up. It’s become common practice for me to use something Google-related for at least 70% of my time spent on the web – smartphone or PC. That’s a lot of Googlin’.
One of the things I really admire about Google is that they don't keep their services to just their own platform. Google didn’t have to let iOS use Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, Maps, or any other Google service – but they do. As a dedicated Google Apps user, I appreciate that I'm not confined to just using Android. I mean, I like Android and all, but I like to explore my options too. I’m not really big on mutually exclusive platform relationships.
I do wish Google Apps were a little more stable on Windows Phone, given that Microsoft and Google have been having spats over YouTube recently, and Maps before that. Not only is Windows Phone affected, but BlackBerry hardly has any Google app integration. The fact that these two platforms are either on the rocks or without Google makes me wary of wanting to purchase a device running on these platforms (especially BlackBerry 10) makes me realize that despite being a part of the iOS family at the moment, I still heavily rely on Google to get the most out of my smartphone experience.
And I’m almost totally okay with this. I find nothing wrong with enjoying parts of Android’s ecosystem within another platform. Honestly, I feel like it helps boost productivity from my smartphone without having to constantly bounce back and forth between smartphone and PC. But there is that tiny little aspect that despite loving Google, I also hate it due to my dependency on the apps. It’s hindering that adventurous side of me that wants to explore other platforms like BlackBerry 10, and even has me wondering the solidity of the apps staying on Windows Phone.
Is it about that time where we can construct our own smartphones yet?
Readers, do you have a special attachment to Google Apps? Is there a special must-have app that is a requirement for you to have in a smartphone? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!