I downloaded the new Gboard for iOS today, and have been really enjoying it so far. Along with wondering about what Google will tell advertisers now that they can read every single thing I type, I came to the realization that pretty much every major function of my iPhone has now been taken over by Google software.
I use Google products for email, search, photos, maps, and video. Gboard effectively puts Google inside every app I use that requires me to type, from texting to taking notes. The only activity that isn’t really mediated by the search giant at this point are voice calls, although in the past I have used Google Voice.
This isn’t an op-ed about how Apple is dying or how Google products are superior to others. Just an observation that the two biggest players in the world of mobile devices / operating systems can radically overlap on an iOS device, in a way that I don’t think would be possible or practical if I was on Android.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made the argument before that part of the value customers derive from his company’s products is privacy. Apple doesn’t suck up your personal data and sell it to advertisers because it’s found a nice business as the most profitable corporation in history mostly by selling hardware.
If you are the kind of person who is offended or frightened by the idea that a big company is tracking everything you say and do, Google apps are not a good fit. Personally, I’m okay with exchanging that information for a suite of software tools that fits my life. Now excuse me, I have some risquÃ© emoji to search for.