Googlifying my iPhone might be a sin, but I did it anyway.

I’ve recently converted the major applications that I might use on my iPhone 4S to their Google alternatives as offered in the App Store. Some of these get a lot of use and others don’t really get used sparingly, if at all.

Here’s a look-see at what my home screen looks like right now:


Google Chrome

The iOS third-party browser scene (aside from Opera) all use the built-in web renderer to display webpages. Some browsers even claim to be able to handle certain Flash content in the same way that Android phones have claimed to be adept at handling Adobe’s multimedia web-wrapper technology. Chrome’s intent isn’t to rock the boat, but to design an app that’s more usable than Safari.

In all honesty, that isn’t a very difficult task.

While Safari is a solid browser for the phone, the only actionable touch that I can think of outside of browsing a webpage is using the deadswitch to scroll to the top of any given page. Chrome adds more swish-and-flick mentality to its effort, with swiping from the edge of the screen across allows a user to switch tabs on the fly, while swiping a tab straight off the screen is a shortcut to closing a tab. The bookmark and active tab syncing that reliably work are welcome additions to the browser and are vast improvements over the implementation of the same that exist in Apple’s Safari.

Google Maps

I haven’t switched to Google Maps out of protest about the latest Apple Maps included in iOS 6, but I switched because of the possibility of needing directions by any other means other than driving.

While traveling in the past year, I relied on mass transit once I got there to get around from place to place, mainly from my hotel to the reason I traveled to the city in the first place. With Apple’s Maps not offering any transit directions of any use, I had to pull up the mobile web version of Google Maps along a mass transit system map as necessary. Having one native place to search these items in the future will be extremely helpful—and I always have the Siri-Apple Maps available for hands free use while driving available by summoning Siri.

Google Drive & Google+

These apps are on here for the same purposes, really. Google Drive is the alternative to Dropbox once I run out of free space on there (so far I have roughly a gigabyte left, so that might be gone sooner than I think), so I’m keeping that around just in case.

I’ve started to use Google+ a bit more lately, but that’s because the iOS app smartly looks into my photos and syncs them with an offline service that allows me to use them at another time, outside of my phone without having to connect a cable to my phone for access. Photostream for iOS does handle this for the most part when the phone backs itself up via iCloud, as does Dropbox for iOS. Having another backup system isn’t that terrible of an idea, right?


The only thing that worked reliably well in the world of iCloud was the mail system, however switching to Gmail has only been an improvement on the app experience. Sparrow’s team was absorbed by the Google machine a few months back, and it seems that the upgraded Gmail app that I’m now using has been largely inspired by Sparrow’s innovations.

Forwarding mail and setting up Gmail was pretty simple and I haven’t had problems with getting or sending mail since. On the web, Gmail is the experience most central to interacting with most of what Google has to offer its users, but on the iOS platform, it’s very much separate from the rest of the Google experience, but still relatively uniform with the design from the other apps that Google has updated.


I think I could get used to this. If anything, it’ll help me when it’s time to finally make a switch for an Android-based phone, which—unless the Ubuntu-phone is a real thing—seems more and more like a likely possibility. The apps are generally more usable than their Apple counterparts, as well, even without the more in-depth abilities that come with Apple’s built-in and first-party applications.

I can’t believe that I just admitted that, but I think that keeping an open mind when it comes to tech is pretty important—even more so than being a fan of a particular device or operating system.

The big three browsers in the international community.

Royal Pingdom has a great write-up with some interesting statistics about browser usage, global region-by-global region. 1 It kinda made me think about why adoption rates of browsers would differ in other regions than here in the US, at least on a proportional level of some kind.


North America still favors the Internet Explorer. I’m not sure if that’s helping other countries regard us as no longer the ideological center of intelligence in the world, or just because Microsoft’s operating system is just shipped in high enough numbers to make marketing irrelevant. Chrome’s takeover of second place from Firefox however, seems to suggest the faster release cycle, in addition to Google’s clout, might be the better way to go ahead as far as garnering marketshare.

Europe, however, are adopting technologies that are of higher relevancy for the technological ecosystem or things that support multiple languages and input possibilities because unlike NA, there are more than two languages spoken in most other parts of the world. As Europe has been the proving ground for Mozilla’s modern browser approach, I can see how it excels here, if only my slim margins.

For the Asian region, Chrome adoption has been outstanding, no doubt due to its minimalistic nature and its display of their languages (clearly not based on the Latin alphabet). Likewise, in South America, the culture of Internet users prefer the more updated and relatively safe browser to navigate online with the boom that the culture is experiencing.

The African region takes to Firefox for performance reasons, largely. Sure the Latin alphabet is possibly not the preferred character set that would fit for the region as a generalization, but it handles Unicode in a decent enough way for it to be a major player. What’s more is that the performance of Firefox on low-power machine—say those that might run on a power supply that isn’t fixed—complements the machines that are in use there.

Oceania, then, might have the make up of a hybrid of the NA and Asian regions based on the large influence that Australia has and how much of a foil they are to their European cousins. Alas, they are still being dominated by Microsoft’s dodgy browser. I suppose IE is just the ‘that’ll do’ solution for them down there? Chrome is growing pretty fast, probably due to the rest of the nations in the region and language needs.

It’s reassuring to see that at least the rest of the world has moved on from a browser platform that updates once a year and perhaps four more times in a decade. I know we can do better here in the North American region, but I think that would mean we would have to remove Internet Explorer with fire because the upcoming version of IE might be a bit too integral in the upcoming tile-based UI of Windows 8.