Google I/O 2015 sets a low bar for Apple's WWDC to leap

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2015
From all the breathless coverage detailing Google's I/O 2015 conference announcements, you might not have noticed that virtually all of what Google had to show this year were things Apple had already introduced over the past year (or long ago). Once hailed as being "more innovative" and faster at introducing new features, Android has become a slow follower.

Google IO 2015

Google I/O 2015 = WWDC 2014

Google started out touting HBO Now for Android, after Apple debuted the new service as exclusive to iOS in early April. From there, the company detailed the next Android "M," which plans to throw away all the confusing, flaw-riddled app permissions of Android and go with the exact same user request system introduced years ago by Apple's iOS, where apps that want to use the camera or access contacts simply ask to do so first.

Android's unintuitive copy and paste will also eventually be replaced with a new system that takes its design cues from iOS 3.0 (from 2009), as noted by John Gruber.

Google Pay similarly gives up on the failed implementation of Google Wallet to identically copy Apple's implementation of Apple Pay. And to make this workable, Android will also look to iOS in providing OS-level fingerprint authentication. The problem with this is that few Android phones have a functional fingerprint reader, and those that do have rolled their own support for competing payment systems, like Samsung Pay.

Apple introduced fingerprint support in iOS two years ago, and Apple Pay last year. Since then, every major bank (and many of their smaller competitors) in the United States have been relentlessly advertising Apple Pay on Apple's behalf. Additionally, even credit processors like Braintree have been screaming about their support Apple Pay from their billboards, despite Braintree being owned by PayPal, ostensibly a direct competitor of Apple Pay.

Google also introduced the same kinds of smart sleep technologies that Apple introduced for both iOS and OS X over the past years, in recognition of the fact that Android devices generally have less usable battery life even while many devices pack on bigger heavier batteries than a comparable iPhone.

And despite buying Nest and inheriting the company's "Thread" Internet of Things technology (now barely a year old), Google has now started over to roll its own new implementation of device control designed to compete with HomeKit, which Apple introduced a year ago (and is already appearing in silicon from major chipmakers).

One unique initiative Google introduced relates to blurring the app and the web browser, with browser tricks to make web pages look more like apps, "Now On Tap" to spy into what apps are doing and web hyperlinks to launch apps and automatically go to a specific function (what could possibly go wrong here, right?). That helps Google wrangle itself into apps, at least on Android, an area where the company has been frantically locked out as the world goes mobile. However, this ploy seems to be a little too little, a little too late, as apps are already well established with barriers to a web-like global search engine.

Google losing control over Android

Even if Google's catch-up efforts with Android M went off without a hitch, most users won't see any benefits for years. After all, it's been a year since Google introduced Android 5.0 L, yet less than 10 percent of Google Play's installed base is currently using it, according to Google itself.

Android OS dashboard May 2015


Worldwide, adoption of Android L is even lower, largely because Google's primary effort with L was to push adoption of a streamlined, web-like "Material Design" appearance to weaken the differentiation of its licensees, something Android's licensees don't particularly like because it isn't in their interest to all look the same, merely commodities for Google's ad ambitions to play like pawns.

In stark contrast, Apple's iOS 8 began immediately benefitting users. Nearly a year after it was first introduced at WWDC last summer, it now makes up 82 percent of the installed base of Apple's mobile users. Apple's latest iOS 8 wasn't without flaws or problems, but it did introduce compelling features that sparked rapid deployment by users themselves. Further, outside of those with aging hardware (like the now five year old original iPad), virtually anyone who wants iOS 8 can get it.

iOS 8 distribution May 2015


There were also quality control issues and problems with getting Google's Android L to work on Android hardware, but that included brand new models within Google's own Nexus line.

In fact, Google's own Nexus 7 tablet (once the star of Google I/O, before the company realized it was not good at hardware) never really got L working well, simply because it couldn't handle the new OS, despite Android L also bending over backward to accommodate simpler, cheaper hardware as a primary goal.

Less than ten percent adoption after a year--particularly within Google's own Play-savvy users--is pretty bad for any operating system, let alone in the mobile world where new OS software makes a huge difference in usability, security, reliability and user satisfaction.

It's no wonder why iPhone 6 models have been eviscerating Android at the high end, leaving Google's mobile OS project stuck at the bottom end where there's no profits, little excitement and no reason to celebrate. That hasn't stopped Google's non-stop media cycle of euphemistically portraying Android as something other than a disappointing, directionless, rewardless effort in busywork.

Google likes to talk about Android as being "popular" and winning in bulk, without clarifying that the volumes of devices shipping with Android are mired in old versions of the software that don't support the features Google is desperately promoting, while--at the same time--the most "successful" and "popular" volumes of Android devices are also occurring in a market Google has been completely shut out of: China.

If Android is winning and so popular, why is Google targeting iOS?

Google Photos, a feature salvaged from the ashes of the failed Google+ social network, is being introduced at launch for iOS, much like all the other Google apps. Google relies on iOS for more than half of its mobile ad revenues. That's because iOS has attracted a valuable demographic of users, while Android hasn't.

This is evident from another significant story from Google I/O: "CocoaPods," an effort by Google to facilitate the incorporation of its shared libraries for Analytics and Google Maps into third party iOS apps. Google is fighting to stay on iOS. That's a big difference from the 1990s, when Microsoft actively thwarted the Macintosh with inferior versions of its apps and frequently ignored Apple's platform entirely.

In contrast, Apple hasn't been releasing its popular apps for Android, ranging from Keynote to iMovie to its own version of Photos. Apple's iCloud doesn't even extend support to Android, the way iTunes did in order to help make iPods popular among Windows users.

Apple ported many of its Mac apps to Windows because Windows was the important, popular PC platform in the early 2000s. It is not important for Apple to support Android today. The installed base of Android users are not an essential audience to target, and are not even very attractive.

Google knows this, third party developers know this, and Apple certainly knows this, even if members of the tech media work effortlessly to paint a false picture that Android is winning, popular and successful, just because it has a large installed base, more than half of which is actively running a version of Android from the era of iOS 6 or earlier.

Google's star Android licensee is falling

Look at the most successful (perhaps "only successful") Android licensee: Samsung. While it struggles to remain relevantM in the face of iPhone 6, Samsung has also fought with Google for control of the software powering its smartphones as sales of its high end, profitable models have collapsed.

Google has tried to make Android J, K and L better for Google, at the expense of its licensees. Android M packs in additional efforts to wrestle control away from Samsung and pigeonhole its licensees into basic device makers reminiscent of the profitless PC makers who served Microsoft's interests a decade or two ago.

However, Google has done nothing to really help its licensees take back any territory from Apple. Instead, Android licensees have battled among themselves and against Google, creating fractions and incompatibilities while introducing their own ways to do things, often in direct competition with Google.

In fact, while the tech media overall has worked hard to propagate Google's official version of events--such as portraying China's Xiaomi as being a grave threat to Apple--the reality is that Xiaomi's success comes at Google's expense. Every cheap Xiaomi phone replaces Google Play, Gmail, Google+ and Google Ads with non-Google services that Google can't compete against.

Of the two largest markets for smartphones on earth, Google is completely locked out of the larger one that's growing the fastest. Coincidently, Apple is now one of the very few Western companies to be successful at all in China, and Apple has been extremely successful. Of the two largest markets for smartphones on earth, Google is completely locked out of the larger one that's growing the fastest

Even outside of China, Android is doing very little to back up Google's revenues or earnings. Mobile ads are paying less even as Google's desktop ad market plateaus as users increasingly go mobile.

Further, Google's tentacles in iOS are getting cut off and replaced with default iOS services ranging from Siri search to Apple's own Maps, iCloud, iMessage and even initiatives like iAd. Apple is getting better at services far faster and more effectively than Google is making any inroads into selling hardware.

Even worse for Google, Samsung is now actively pushing its own Android competitor Tizen, initially on its "smartwatches" but soon on its own phones, an effort it has been working on since at least 2011, according to documents that surfaced during its patent infringement trial.

Apple has never been more successfully positioned

While Google's desktop PC ad empire crumbles and its mobile partners fight it for the meager dollars available within the Android ecosystem, Apple's computer business has never been better. Further, Apple's partners--ranging from hardware and software developers to banks and enterprise customers--are actively advertising and working to promote its initiatives, ranging from iOS apps to Apple Pay, HomeKit, Health, Metal and Swift.

And those were just a few of the headline initiatives Apple launched last year around WWDC. Apple also introduced new technologies including Continuity, which not only benefitted existing Mac and iOS users, but also laid a foundation for Apple Watch as a Handoff wearable that can take calls from your phone.

Virtually everything Apple introduced last year was immediately relevant to the majority of its users and partners. In contrast, Google has merely introduced a series of projects, much like the old Apple of the early 1990s: introducing scattershot, ineffectual but grandiose plans on the level of PowerTalk and QuickDraw GX.

Apple's new introductions at last year's WWDC 2014 were far more novel and interesting than this year's Google I/O. With Apple's vast gulf over Google in earnings, employees, ecosystem and frankly, competence in implementation and deployment, you can expect that WWDC 2015 will launch Apple even further ahead, setting up support for new products, new capabilities and new technologies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 295
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member

    It would be really satisfying for Apple to blow our socks off with some astounding software innovations no one has been expecting this upcoming WWDC. What are your expectations?

  • Reply 2 of 295
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    It seems I'm not the only one that thought google's IO was either yawn-inducing, or transparent attempts at upping the level of privacy invasion seemingly solely for the purpose of further profiling customers.

    Many aspects remind me of Microsoft when they had ran out of ideas.
  • Reply 3 of 295
    atokoschatokosch Posts: 46member

    Well said, it's about time that one of the major tech sites brought this to everyones attention!

    Since i saw what was announced for Android M, especially Android Pay, i knew they just copied Apple and just changed the name.

    The way Android Pay works, looks and feels is the exact same as Apples, but i bet that it will not work as well when it comes to the real world.

    I literally think Google should have put a slide up that says we now have Apple Pay, and then crossed it out and put a stamp on it with Android, then they could have gone on to say, we just copied the entire thing, so here you go, maybe it'll work as good as Apple Pay, but probably not. 

  • Reply 4 of 295
    prolineproline Posts: 201member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    It would be really satisfying for Apple to blow our socks off with some astounding software innovations no one has been expecting this upcoming WWDC. What are your expectations?


    Actually, I don't think there's an appetite for anything of the sort- iOS users mostly want bug fixes and performance improvements for existing features, not grandiose new 'innovations'. Furthermore, Apple has devoted much of their engineering resources to Watch OS over the past year. Expect the following

     

    -better maps

    -optimizations

    -expanded Swift APIs

    -lots of refinements to Watch OS

  • Reply 5 of 295
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,677member

    Google is becoming more and more like Samsung. Rush ahead to do it first and screw it up, then wait for Apple to do it right and then go back and fix it by copying Apple's way.

     

    Remember in 2011, PayPal sued Google for stealing their entire mobile payment team and Google still screwed it up.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/27/technology/paypal-sues-google/

     

    I think Apple will kick Google's butt in Mapping and Searching very soon, not to mention Advertising just yet.

     

    Time will tell.

  • Reply 6 of 295
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by proline View Post

     

    Actually, I don't think there's an appetite for anything of the sort- iOS users mostly want bug fixes and performance improvements for existing features, not grandiose new 'innovations'.


    I agree. If iOS 9 turns out to be significantly faster than iOS 8, even on older devices, they could do even better than the 82% coverage of iOS 8. Better performance = better coverage, also it's just a pleasure to use devices that are snappy at everything.

     

    Linux, for example. The hardware support is behind and there's hardly any apps, so I wouldn't use it for my main OS, but when you do use it you can tell it's mostly written in C. You can have a lot of stuff open, and go to System Monitor, and there will be less than 1GB in use, and everything will be quick. My Linux box has a swap partition but I don't think it's ever used it.

  • Reply 7 of 295
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,677member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    It would be really satisfying for Apple to blow our socks off with some astounding software innovations no one has been expecting this upcoming WWDC. What are your expectations?




    Bet on it!



    iOS 9

    OS X 10.11

    New Mapping technologies

    New Streaming Music Service

    New TV Service

    Revamped AppleTV 

    ApplePay Rewards

    HomeKit

    Spotlight search feature.

     

    ========================

    FoundationDB ?

     

     

     

  • Reply 8 of 295
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Google Photos is mind blowing. Unlimited storage and free. This was the big news at I/O. It will be a smash hit.
  • Reply 9 of 295
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    Google Photos is mind blowing. Unlimited storage and free. This was the big news at I/O. It will be a smash hit.



    I'm using it now and find it needlessly confusing and poorly thought out. The icons are essentially meaningless and it's difficult to find the full functionality of the service by clicking around. On the plus side, unlimited storage for their reduced file size is great and 14 GB free for full-size pictures is outstanding. Apple needs to at least offer something on par with this and they could easily beat Google with the UI.

  • Reply 10 of 295
    Holy cow. Just so you know, it's lame to root for multibillion dollar companies that impose sweatshop-like working conditions as though they're sports teams or that one cousin you always really liked when you were kids.

    Really, though? This is how you're gonna spend the time, energy, and talents you have?
  • Reply 11 of 295
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member

    Bet on it!


    iOS 9

    OS X 10.11

    New Mapping technologies

    New Streaming Music Service

    New TV Service

    Revamped AppleTV 

    ApplePay Rewards

    HomeKit

    Spotlight search feature.

    ========================
    FoundationDB ?



    Proactive with Breadcrumbs
    Augmented Reality Maps with "Browse Around Me"
    Transit directions
  • Reply 12 of 295
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    I is no different from why Microsoft has sunk almost into obscurity. Google and Microsoft stole Apple technologies and ultimately both made a fortune but as they say, 'a house built on sand'. Sooner or later the rain starts.
  • Reply 13 of 295
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member

    I'm using it now and find it needlessly confusing and poorly thought out. The icons are essentially meaningless and it's difficult to find the full functionality of the service by clicking around. On the plus side, unlimited storage for their reduced file size is great and 14 GB free for full-size pictures is outstanding. Apple needs to at least offer something on par with this and they could easily beat Google with the UI.

    My bad for not reading up, but what has 14 GB got to do with free and unlimited? I have five >500 GB libraries of RAW images can I store them all for free?
  • Reply 14 of 295
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    Google Photos is mind blowing. Unlimited storage and free. This was the big news at I/O. It will be a smash hit.

    The part that is being glossed over is that unlimited storage is NOT the original photos. It's a reduced resolution photo. Big deal. Apple's Cloud photos has better promise, and better integration. The downside is it costs money.  Still, that's the route I'd take over Google, who might decide to dump the project next week.

  • Reply 15 of 295
    alandailalandail Posts: 696member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    My bad for not reading up, but what has 14 GB got to do with free and unlimited? I have five >500 GB libraries of RAW images can I store them all for free?

     

    there's this

     

    Google's service is only free for those uploading video under 1080p and photos under 16 megapixels. Upload anything larger — say, a great DSLR shot — and if you're on the free plan, it's automatically compressed

  • Reply 16 of 295
    clexmanclexman Posts: 166member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     



    I'm using it now and find it needlessly confusing and poorly thought out. The icons are essentially meaningless and it's difficult to find the full functionality of the service by clicking around. On the plus side, unlimited storage for their reduced file size is great and 14 GB free for full-size pictures is outstanding. Apple needs to at least offer something on par with this and they could easily beat Google with the UI.


    Apple's 5GB free per account needs to go away. iCloud Photos is useless without paying for storage. The sync your entire library or nothing setup is terrible. I would prefer if the last XX days were saved on my devices at full resolution and older photos were resized. The non-stop uploading/downloading is a pain when I want to send someone a picture I took last week.

     

    If Appleinsider wants to be a news source, they need to be impartial. Just saying Google sucks and Apple is awesome gets old.

     

    Google being locked out of China while Apple is not, should not be something to brag about. Caving to a communist country with ongoing civil rights violations' demands shows that Google made the right move pulling out of China.

     

    Apple Maps has a long way to go. It will be a few more years until it catches up to Google Maps (If they can).

     

    You can't complain about Google stealing ideas from Apple, when Apple is one of the biggest, "Me Too," companies out there. Maps on phones, Google first Apple second. Mobile payments, Google first Apple second. Big phones, Google first Apple second. Photo editing software that syncs to the web, Google first Apple second.

  • Reply 17 of 295
    tmgdfsmtmgdfsm Posts: 1member
    Google photo is a terrible idea. Look at what happened to all those celebrities and their photos.

    As for the article, it seemed very aggressive and blind. Apple can put out the quality it does because of the hard work from small developers. Granted they happen to get bought out by companies lIke Google/Apple. Still it's they who take the risks and drive the industry forward. Without them you just have a robot and a piece of fruit.
  • Reply 18 of 295

    In my opinion the Apple Watch isn't an innovation and all signs point to a terrible quarterly sales performance - if that gives any indication as to how significant an innovation it is, I can't judge.  Just because something doesn't sell doesn't mean it isn't truly innovative, but I digress.  Project Soli from Google's ATAP (their DARPA) is lightyears ahead of ANY innovation Apple has produced since the iPhone -- and this is coming from a lifetime user of Apple products (my first computer was the Mac Classic).  We see Lenovo has beaten everyone to the punch by incorporating picoprojection in a phone -- Apple is now pursuing a transportation product?  I see the watch failing, the car failing, and Apple reliving it's dismal early to mid-90s.

     

    Furthermore it should be said that a company like Apple doesn't "innovate" in the sense that they are actively producing new display semiconductor manufacturing end products -- nor do they contribute substantively in any sense to driving innovation up stream.  Apple uses components created by other semiconductor manufacturing firms like Intel and [insert Korean or Chinese chopshop here].  Those firms buy their manufacturing equipment from megacompanies like Applied Materials and Global Foundries.  Apple doesn't MAKE anything.  They assemble attractive gestalt from products made available by more important entities much further upstream from the ocean of the consumer marketplace.  I think to say they "innovate" would be a bit of a stretch from an engineer's perspective.  But don't take my word for it.

     

    It's not the same company as before.  Terraced batteries were being done in Samsung phones mid-decade.  The Apple Watch .. meh -- I'd love for them to prove me wrong but all signs point to failure.

     

    Respectfully,

    Ben

  • Reply 19 of 295
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 489member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    Google Photos is mind blowing. Unlimited storage and free. This was the big news at I/O. It will be a smash hit.

    Sure, Just like free lunches and free music.
  • Reply 20 of 295
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    Google Photos is mind blowing. Unlimited storage and free. This was the big news at I/O. It will be a smash hit.

     

    Google Photos allows Google to use your photos for advertising. Read the TOS.

     

    Quote:


     

    Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

    When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

    Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.




     

    This is a piece of garbage service from a terrible company. Consider yourselves informed.

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