[Update: In the interest of fairness, Google released a big update to Google+ for iOS shortly after I wrote this. It seems most, but not all, of the Android features made it over, which of course takes some of the wind out of this piece’s sales. However, I think there are enough other examples, such as Google Now, to make this worth discussing.]
And so it… continues. Google announced nearly two dozen new features for Google+ just before the holiday shutdown and didn’t breathe a word about iOS, though Matt added a mention at the bottom after I noted it on Twitter. This is not an accusation of Matt or TNW, but an observation of Google’s shift in mission and how it’s affecting end users.
Google’s mission is no longer “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” or at the very least, that is no longer its primary directive. Google’s business model is to collect as much user information as possible and sell it, which is and always has been diametrically opposed to the way Apple, parts of Microsoft (don’t forget Bing), and a seemingly dwindling number of companies care to do business.
iOS prevents Google from collecting as much of that incredibly valuable users information as it wants, which the company needs to power its ad network. Google has reportedly been unsuccessful in convincing Apple to relent, so iOS is no longer a priority for new products and features. We saw it with Google Maps—Google knew for years that Apple was building its own maps. But even if you don’t buy that, it saw the same public confirmations as the rest of us much earlier this year from Apple’s public demonstrations of iOS 6. Now we’re seeing that same lethargy with Google+ releases.
Right down to the core of how they do business and the regard they have (or, in Google’s case, don’t have) for customers, Google and Apple might as well be oil and water. Don’t believe me? Just try calling or simply emailing Google’s customer service department to ask; I’m sure you can find contact information somewhere.
Everyone has known it for years, and now we’re seeing the most concrete results yet of this opposition in the end user experience. If you live in Google’s world, the company has clearly lost interest in providing the best experience it can for iOS users in parallel with its other platforms. That’s why Apple had to build its own maps product, and this stark difference in doing business and regard for users is why I’m not holding my breath for things to improve anytime soon.