iOS fans jealous of Jelly Bean's creepy Google Now might finally have something to get excited about. An October update to the Google Search app finally delivered an updated voice recognition experience to Apple's platform, but sadly alerts and contextual cards of data were nowhere to be seen. Of course, Mountain View has never been one to keep its wares to a single platform, and many expect that it's only a matter of time before Now makes its proper debut on iOS. Those that like to dip their toes in both ponds might be interested in a video brought to our attention by a tipster earlier today.
Overlooking the inflammatory and heavily baited verbiage in Mr. O'Brien's article, I can unabashedly say that, if true, this would be phenomenal news for iOS users.
Perhaps the potency of the service would be somewhat neutered compared to its native Android counterpart, but the overarching potential of Google Now would be clear to an entirely new swath of consumers. And, for Google, that'd only serve to solidify and evolve the service, whilst also potentially enticing people away from iOS.
Regardless of how you might look at it, that'd be a victory for Google. For Apple, on the other hand, the matter is slightly more complex.
Focusing the situation at hand, however, Google has embarked upon an aggressive — and utterly endearing — mission to hone its native iOS apps over the past six months. Once a source of derision and embarrassment, their apps are now unilaterally well-designed, functional, and robust — each offering a compelling alternative to stock iOS apps.
Moreover, with iOS, Google has experimented with its design language in a manner befitting the platform, whilst avoiding the sacrifice of native Android functionality. In doing so, Google has finally seized its opportunity to supplant a trojan horse, of sorts, within its competitor's camp.
With mounting pressure upon Apple to offer serious improvements in iOS this year, Google is telling an increasingly compelling narrative for end-users in a platform agnostic fashion.
Rather than standing moodily and anti-competitively to the side, Google has implemented its best design, shared its best products, and actively sought to keep its own iOS experience at a point of relative parity to its own ecosystem. Compared with Apple's — frequently beneficial — closed garden mentality, Google is beginning to look better and better from a consumer perspective.
For users of Google services not yet ready to plunge into Android, the arrival of Google Now would be a wonderful coup. It's a powerful, robust technology that utterly outdoes Siri in a great many respects. It feels genuinely futuristic and forebodes much of what is to come for the industry (whilst Siri continues to misunderstand my voice).
As an advocate of both iOS and Android, Google's agnosticism has proven to be a brilliant strategy. I'm able to rely upon all the services I use, without worrying about the device I'm holding.
At the same time, however, as Google's design language and apps continue to evolve at such a clip, I — like many others, it would seem — am increasingly beginning to re-evaluate my Apple-only approach to my hardware. Both Google and Android are becoming more and more compelling by the week, whilst the tension and expectations surrounding iOS 7 become tighter.
It's an exciting, profitable year for consumers, regardless of any particular allegiances you might hold. And I, for one, am grateful for that fact.