Despite their own ssmartphone operating system to worry about, why does it always feel like Google puts more time and effort into the iOS versions of their mobile apps?
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Are Google’s apps better on iPhone than Android?

As Google updates Gmail to include better integration with their other iOS apps like YouTube and Chrome, it’s quickly becoming apparent to me that the best Android experience might not be on an Android phone. If you want the premier version of Google’s mobile suite, it’s on an iOS device. I know, blasphemous, right?

Gmail app settings

I’m not blazing new ground by making such a statement. I recall when Google launched the retooled Gmail app for iPhone late last year to rave reviews. It not only introduced several concepts already established in the Android version of that app, but it did so in ways that seemed all the more intuitive. On top of that, the app looks simply marvelous.

Same goes for Google Maps. All it took was Apple giving Google the boot as the default navigation service for iPhone and iPad to bring us perhaps the best mobile implementation of Maps. Again, the app has that touch of aesthetic polish that seems to be missing from its Android implementation.

And I could go on naming apps all the way to the introduction of Google Now in the latest update to Google Search. It’s why one of the first things I did when activating my iPhone was to make sure I set up my Google ecosystem.

I can’t be crazy for thinking this. I was an Android user for years, and Google’s apps simply never wowed me like they do on the iPhone. On Android, the same apps feel clunky, buggy, and awkward at times. On Apple devices, they are presented with grace and fluidity. They are put together in ways that make sense while making the most of their touch interfaces. Doesn’t this seem a little backwards?

OK, so Google is in the business of getting as many people to use their services as possible in order to generate ad revenue. It would not be in their best interest to ignore iOS simply to bolster their presence on their own devices. No Gmail app for iPhone wouldn’t mean more people would switch to Android, it just means fewer folks would use a native Google app, which would actually cut into their numbers.

But the real question (and this is one Android users should be asking) is why would Google put forth a superior product for their rival OS? Is it a symptom of building apps for Android versus iPhone (as in, does Apple provide a better platform for building apps)? Is it the fact that Google’s Android team is distracted by the bigger picture, spending less time on individual apps?

google-beta

It’s likely not intentional that Android and its apps feel more befitting of the “beta” tag Google at one point loved to throw on just about any new product they released. It certainly seems like the Android and iOS design teams aren’t quite on the same page.

Of course, Google is still limited by certain restrictions of iOS. While the apps themselves might trump their Android brethren, Google’s mobile OS is still the best way to have Google as the default when it comes to mobile. Even considering this, it’s hard to argue that Android should be the first choice of those with their online lives tied up in Google’s offerings.

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