Google+ puts iOS ahead of Android

May 9 is, in a way, a watershed day for Android -- and that's not necessarily a good thing. Many developers I communicate with repeatedly say they confront the same quandary: Android or iOS first? Maybe they choose to develop for iOS, only to ask: Android or iPad next? Google is a software developer, too, and this day put its priorities in order with a stunning iOS-first update. The new iPhone app for social network Google+ is stunning, breathtaking, immersive and makes the already great experience on Ice Cream Sandwich seem outdated -- although some of the best visuals migrate to iOS.

In a way, Google sets the wrong example for its development partners by putting iOS ahead of Android. But why not? The iOS install base is larger than Android (365 million to 300 million at last reveal); countless analyst surveys show that iOS device users are more connected and engaged; and fragmentation isn't a problem since the majority of the iOS install base is on the newest version (versus about 5 percent of Androids). Google wants Plus to succeed in a big way, so improving the experience everywhere should be a priority. But iOS first, for the next big thing, is the priority.

From another perspective, the move is rather genius, even if pricks like me complain as I do above. Google likely will get more free marketing as bloggers and journalists -- and that's not just the Apple Fan Club of apologists -- drum on about the visually stunning iOS app. Buzz would be considerably lower for an Android app. Vic Gundotra, Google senior vice president of engineering, says that "the Android update is coming in a few weeks (with a few extra surprises)". So there's another chance to beat the InterWebs and in doing so generate some more free Google+ buzz. As marketing, the iOS-then-Android approach is brilliant.


Bleeding Edge

The visuals are so strong they're almost overwhelming, and I can't but wonder if Google borrowed a little something from Windows Phone and the Bing mobile app. Google+ for iPhone (version uses full-bleed photos and then some. Pretty much everything about Google+ bleeds the edge of the screen. The effect is immersive. You just want to scroll and scroll -- and you will since so much less content fills the screen now. It's a trade-off that works best when there is a smaller number of people in the selected circle.

"We’re embracing the sensor-rich smartphone (with its touchable screen and high-density display), and transforming Google+ into something more intimate, and more expressive", Gundotra says.

He emphasizes: "Full-bleed photos and videos are cool. But you know what’s really cool? Content so immersive it remakes your mobile device into a rich carousel of beloved memories and breaking news. That’s the Google+ experience we aspire to, and today’s release helps us get closer".

Companies so overdo the marketing hype, it's startling for an executive to express something seemingly so that actual is not. Gundotra remarks:

Today’s update pays special attention to fun and performance:

  • Conversations fall into view as you move forward and backward in time
  • Optical cues (like parallax) help the mind linger on individual posts
  • Important actions like +1 now float atop the stream, making it easy to endorse all your favorites

The end result -- we hope -- is an app that brings you closer to the people you care about, and the stuff you’re into; an app with sense and soul.

I can't disagree. "Sense and soul" is about right.

A Fool and His Android

The timing has me laughing at myself (although many of you already do; hey, I read comments). In February, I grudgingly gave up Verizon Galaxy Nexus, used since late December. My Verizon bill for the one account turned out to be half that of four other lines on AT&T. I just couldn't justify the expense. So I sold the phone, paid off my Verizon early-termination fee and chocked up the loss on the device to my Christmas money.

I then returned to AT&T by buying a black, 32GB iPhone 4S. Contrary to some BetaNews comments, I'm fairly platform independent. Rather than go Android again, I spent time using Siri and getting up to date with newer iOS apps. Then something unexpected occurred. Two weeks ago today, Google started selling Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ direct. Two months of iPhone 4S was enough for me. I bought another Galaxy Nexus, which I covered by selling the Apple smartphone (yesterday for $500 locally).

I'll be clear: Google+ is my preferred social hangout, and the tight integration, along with other things Google, with Android 4 hugely appeals. I received the phone Friday only to get to Wednesday and this -- Google+ getting a huge, enticing makeover for iOS. But not Android. I'm a klutz for timing.

By the way, I briefly tested the new Google+ app on an iPad late this afternoon. To be clear: It's not native iPad but works as you would expect from any iPhone app. Tiny or 2X.

If you haven't used Google+, the iPhone app is good reason to try. If you Plused and gave up, there's reason to go back. Facebook is suddenly so last century compared to this user experience.

Something else, well two things: Immersive is a word often used to describe using iPad. Google brings it to iPhone, and hopefully soon Android, and in a big way. What app is more appropriately immersive than one where you engage others.

That other thing: Google is betting big on mobile, which it should as a leading cloud-to-device provider. You may have thought you knew this, as did I, but Google+, in context of other recent product and service redesigns, foreshadows much more: Sensors, screen and soul.

33 Responses to Google+ puts iOS ahead of Android

  1. preinterpost says:

    Well, it's certainly no watershed day for JWX since it's the same old BS since the last couple of weeks ago I checked.

    Google also pushed out a new Google Maps update today. Of course for Android only, even though it is already several generations ahead of the iOS version - a damn shame to have it baked into the OS....
    G+ will also be updated on Android... maybe in 1 hour, maybe in 1 day, who cares..?

    • Jeremy Collake says:

      I agree. It's just a simple time delay. Which G+ app update comes first doesn't mean they are abandoning their own OS in favor of iOS. That's just absurd. What it does say is that they *care* about other OSes besides their own. That's a good thing.

      • bbrewer says:

        What tablet OS? ICS? It is really a beta, and failing horribly. Get an iPad, you'll see what I mean.

    • preinterpost says:

      bbrewer (can't reply to the comment)

      Honestly, aren't you bored of iOS, especially on iPad? A 10" display with a static grid of icons? Is there any meaningful app that doesn't exist on both platforms? I got a high end HC tablet last year (now ICS) and really don't understand why anyone would get an iPad with its limitations instead.

      Never mind - just saw your other responses. Whatever - glad you are happy with your iPad.

  2. justin J says:

    The updated iOS app is available in the app store now, while the Android app will be updated "in a few weeks" — but Google's promising some "extra surprises" to go along with that update. 


  3. justin J says:

    umad +Joe?

  4. Snook says:

    Most likely different development teams finish at different times rather than one team putting priority of one over the other.

    • bbrewer says:

      And iOS has a real dev environment, while Goog just uses unlicensed java. No comparison, Apple's tools are great and free, and not in violation of Oracle's license.

  5. Paul Jennings says:

    The simplest answer is that it's much easier and faster to develop an app for iOS than Android. As a developer for both I know this to be true. iOS development is a much more advanced beast than Android development. Not even close. In fact android development is dangerously close to a real mess.

  6. bbrewer says:

    Joe, Google is not as stupid or as evil as Microsoft. There is hardly any Roid "tablet" market. No one is buying those except the desperate iHaters. Google wants to reach the huge iPad market, simple as that. Besides, the Roid users aren't going to give up on Goog, whereas Apple already has a far better solution in FaceTime (no question). Google is striving for relevancy with this product, in fact with almost all their products, except search and map/earth.

    • Adamodeus says:

      The "desperate iHaters" seem to be gobbling up about 10% of mobile market share every quarter... And the desperate iSheep just refuse to believe that a device that has been running an OS with the exact same look for 5 years now is being abandoned in favor of more appealing choices.

      • TechnologyRules says:

        I guess te ridiculous growth that Apple has been delivering for the past two years is too hard for stupid Apple hating geeks idiots to comprehend.

        Yeah people are so tired of that same look that they flock to Apple in record numbers every quarter!!!!!
        I guess record profits is a bad thing to have WHEN YOU ARE A STUPID FUKN IIOT ANDROID WORHIPPING GEEK!!!!!!

      • TechnologyRules says:

        I think you should stop drinking the joe pilcox kool aid.

        It seems only android geeks seem to believe that samsung outsold Apple in smartphones.... I guess the REAL SHEEP are praising a dumb green robot.

        That is reality mah-non-friend!

    • TechnologyRules says:

      WoW cool and nice BRAIN!!!

      I thought comments like these that actually make sense were totally impossible here on BN!!!

  7. bbrewer says:

    There are hardly any apps for Android, relative to iOS, and the quality is MUCH better, the OS and most any app. No one is buying Roid apps, relative to the huge market for iOS. Roid users just want to torrent and side load. IOS users are not so geeky, and will pay a few bucks. Google knows all this, this is why the obfuscate app sales. Talk to developers. All the money is in iOS, and anyone that doesn't see that by now is in total denial.

    • Adamodeus says:

      Hey, I didn't know your name was "Everyone"... And why do you keep referring to yourself in third person?

    • TechnologyRules says:

      Thank you and Amen!!!!!

      Geeez I often feel like the only one in te room WITH A FUNCTIONING BRAIN!!!!!!

      All these fukn android worshipping Apple hating dum people are so stupid they make me fear for the human race!!!!!!

      They know Apple is the best in everything relates to technology.
      But they refuse to acknowledge it!!!!

      • Paul says:

        "...Apple is the best in everything related to technology."
        First, You live in a very small, small, small world.

        Second, there is only one long term outcome - html5(+) apps across the board. Where will that leave Apple?

      • Bla bla bla... Intel & Samsung Inside...

      • capncoad says:

        ok so tech is most likely an anti-apple troll pretending to be a super apple fanboy in order to prove some type of deep meaningful point. It has to be just has to be. Maybe he feeds from all the microsoft and google fanboys like some type of tape worm, and all the nutrients his needs is from the angry tears of fanboys who overreact to what I can only assume is trollbait and not real meaningful opinion. It has to be that....has to be....

      • mshulman says:

        Someone that worships any of these companies is dumb.  So you worshiping apple like you do is just as dumb as someone who worships android.

        All the devices really do the same thing.  Some do it better than others.  The only thing Apple does better is have an integrated solution between all their products, which really is only 3 things - ipod devices, iphone devices and ipad devices.

        I can argue that Microsoft actually does that equally as well if you look at the WP7, windows and xbox integration.  It all works very well together too.  

        There's really no point in arguing any of this either as most of it is opinion.  You can argue specs, but Apple will win some on that and lose some on that. Same with everyone else.

        In the end, buy whatever you like and stop worrying about everyone else.  It's like arguing which car is best.  That differs for everyone too..

  8. TechnologyRules says:

    I can't bother reading your crap anymore because you joe pilcox are a stupid man.

    But based on your headline there are a couple things I can say.

    First, the guys at google ARE EVIL, but they are not stupid. They know that Apple has the bet platform, the best affluent smartest and profitable user base. They know android is for geeks morons stupid idiots little kids broke bitches (Gus and girls) and typical fukn-idiot morons like joe pilcox....

    So they, Google, know where their investment will pay off best, an it's not with garbage android!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It with the same best most superior platform on planet earth; Apple's iOS on the iPhone iPad and iPod....

    Screw garbage android and screw you!

    Looks like smart people, like programmers architects and engineers know that joe pilcox is a stupid fukn idiot and they focus on Apple products!!!!


    • You sound like Justin Bieber...

      • TechnologyRules says:

        It takes a real homo to even know what Justin biber sounds like!!!

        Hell most real men couldn't pick him out of a line up until he walked out into the ring with bitch whore coward mayweather!!!!!!

        But I guess you know enough about Justin biber to correlate a few words on a blog to what he sounds like.... Hmmm... If I were you I'd keep that to myself going forward.

      • StockportJambo says:


        "It takes a real homo to even know..."

        That settles it. You *are* twelve.

    • apd230 says:

      They are not evil, they are just misunderstood

    • swattz101 says:

      If you are not going to read it, why even post on it? I'm not going to read your posts anymore. It's obvious you are so far up Apples @$$ that even Steve Jobs wouldn't be able to convince you otherwise. But somehow I'm reading it anyway, it's like watching a train wreck in progress.

  9. Rankine Zero says:

    How does a social service nobody uses put iOS ahead of Android ?
    Nonsense as usual.

    And I do not really care which is used more. All platforms have their uses.
    Whatever does the job for you is the one you should use.

  10. capncoad says:

    Google has a lot invested in Google+ and they have every intention of putting as much resources into its success as possible. I don't think Google intended to fast track their software updates for iOS first but perhaps development was finished sooner for the iOS version as some have said. Also someone correct me if i'm wrong but the time lapse from when you submit your app updates to Apple vs when they are released tends to vary, perhaps this went through faster than Google anticipated. Google however did mention the Android versions will get a few extra features so we'll see.

     I wouldn't draw any conclusions about Google's development priorities. As someone who runs Android and iOS, it's pretty cut and dry that Google heavily favors Android for it's apps and services in availability and quality. If you're a Google fanboy/girl no need to regret your Nexus purchase anytime soon.

  11. John Kenedy says:

    google + is a good social profile

  12. jfplopes says:

    I read the title and instantly thought : "This is a Joe Wilcox article".
    According to Vic (from Google) the Google+ release on Android will have "some surprises" not available on iOS. So next week. Will you make an article about Google giving Android priority?
    What about the other Google apps that Google released on Android first?
    One of the major problems I see on Apple and Microsoft strategy from a consumer point of view is that if you want to use their services you get stuck to their platform.
    For instance Zune is a major part of Windows Phone 7 but if you want to take full advantage of it you better use Microsoft only devices such as Xbox 360 or Windows PC. No way you can access the Zune library with a simple web browser.
    You also won't find a Zune app for Android or iOS. Same goes for many products and services from Apple.

    But Google opted for another strategy. They opted to make an adaptable mobile OS that is full of features.
    Can work across several type of devices. Gives desktop level features such as true multitasking, background services, apps capable of sharing information between them, great cloud integration and so on.
    And their reasoning is simple. If we make a really compiling mobile OS that is open and free to and give the market more freedom to do what they want and where people can choose the one they like we will succeed.
    And they did. The iPhone and iPad are the best selling devices of their category.
    But it is Android that takes the most used mobile OS crown.
    There will probably never be a single Android device that sells more than any iOS device because there are far more Android devices than iOS devices.

    Here is something to think about while we judge Google strategy.
    I have an iPad and went that route because for now there are more and better tablet apps on iOS than on Android.
    Also Apple exclusive app stores such as Newstand and iTunes University set the iPad apart from the rest. This new digital interactive magazines are great.
    And the Newsstand makes it effortless to get them. So yes. One of the main selling points of the iPad are Apple exclusive services.
    But what happens when Google provides similar services that work across all platforms?
    What happens once apps for the Android tablet are on equal footing to what we see on the iPad?
    Each day I see more and more great apps on iOS coming to Android. Games like Shadowrun, Nova and so on. Magazines like Wired, or apps like Flipboard.
    I also see apps that are only available on Android like Onlive gaming, or task automation apps and so on.
    And as an iPad user I can assure you that once Android on tablets picks momentum I'll jump.
    Yes. iPhones will continue to sell. iPads too. Upcoming Apple devices will continue to be the top sellers of their category.
    But they have to be. Their the only option available with iOS.
    There will probably never be a single Android device that sells more than any Apple product.
    And the reason is simple. Choice. Some people will buy the HTC One X because they love Sense. Others will go Samsung because they want to get the best quad-core processor.
    But they all have one thing in common. Android. And Android is and will continue to be the top mobile OS.

    So in the end the truth is this. Google strategy pays off. They have their services available on every platform and they have the most popular mobile OS in the market.

  13. TechnologyRules says:

    Here people.....

    THIS is what happens when somebody has A BRAIN!!!

    That is the reality of the situation. The reason the S2 sold even remotely well is because it ripped off the iPhone 3GS form factor.

  14. If Google did not put Apple first it would violate the Golden Rule part of its Confucian ethics. The long term gain of ethical behavior is that its partners need not be party to little conspiracies that tip off double crossing in future behavior by Google.

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