Google versus Apple

Google recently announced Google Sync, an ability to sync Calendar and Contact to iPhone and Windows Mobile, stayed under the radar for the most part. However, this is a significant announcement. Google Sync now allows syncing of data from their Calendar and Contact apps between multiple sources, desktop, web and portable devices. Why is so significant?

I have blogged about Apple’s eco-system they built around the media, web and portable devices. Until now, Apple was the only company able to provide entire work flow of media and data from a single eco-system. Three key elements to this eco-system are MobileMe, iPod/iPhone and iLife suite of software. Apple provided a single work flow to manage all the photos, videos, movies, music, mail, contact, calendar and information/search. Of course the last item was developed by Google. Now, with the announcement of Google Sync, I believe that this piece is the one of the last piece Google needs to compete with Apple.

I am a current user of the Apple eco-system and I find it to be a valuable time saver. When I take a picture on a camera, as soon as I connect it to my Mac, iPhoto comes up and with one click, I can transfer those pictures to iPhoto. Those photos can be adjusted using iPhoto and be used on my person web site, using iWeb within minutes. Then I can publish the web site using iWeb to MobileMe, which supports my own URL,, with a button. If I wanted to just published photos, I can upload them to my Gallery on MobileMe, sharing them with friends and family. I also use iWeb to do personal blog, which can be done without spending lot of time setting it up.

Music is just as easy. I am an old fashion person with over 1400 CDs, I rarely purchse music online. As soon as I insert my CD, the iTunes come up and asks to rip it. WIth one button, I can rip a CD in about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Then I can sync the CD to my iPhone or iPod and listen while I am doing something.

Video takes a bit more but not daunting. I plug in my HD camcorder to my Mac, open iMovie, import, edit and publish online or burn to DVD with iDVD.

My calendar and contacts are automatically synced between my various computers, iPhone and laptops automatically using MobileMe and I can do the same with the mail but I haven’t set that up.

So, using these tools, what used to take me hours now takes me minutes with just a few button. It’s a definite time saver and game changer. As I mentioned in the past blog, Microsoft should have done this before but couldn’t due to several limitations.

Now, Google can take on that challenge and may surpass Apple on some points. Most if their suite of web based and computer based applications rivals Apple but have not been integrated elegantly as Apple’s applications.

They have Google Apps, which competes with iWork suite from Apple. Picasa is their picture upload web site, YouTube is the video site. Calendar, Contacts and email (Gmail) are available online so nothing resides on a computer, yet they now can be synced to the mobile devices. Gmail has gone thorough extensive changes to make the email services rival any email program out there. You can create web sites using Google Sites. Blogger, is not as easy to use but a decent blogging solution. Their Groups functions is duplicated in MobileMe. Finally, Google’s main product, Search, is second to none.

Now that they are integrating these services in to a single eco-system, similar to what Apple created. Their UI and integration is not complete and elegant as Apple’s yet. However, it’s a matter of time before they figure this out and provide complete solution. How is this going to effect the market?

Two things Google lacks are ability to connect up a MP3 players to a music management system and video/music/TV purchase site. If they can add these features and elegantly integrate them together, they will give Apple a serious competition. The primary reason is the cost to consumers. Currently, total solution for Apple, excluding the computer is about $200 per year, $100 for MobileMe and $100 for new iLife software that comes out every year. If you add Google App, then it’s another $100 for Apple’s iWork. All the apps from Google is free. If these suite become as easy to use as Apple’s solution, many people may defect to Google solution. This is specially true when Android based mobile devices start shipping in volume. Google can narrow the gap on easy of use for smart phone with Apple, so more people will have less reason to stick with Apple.

Would I make the jump when this solution hits the market? Until last year, my answer was definite NO. I have been an Apple user all my life and there was no compelling reason to switch. However, more and more I look at Google’s solution, I am impressed by it and may, the keyword being may, switch if they do it "right".

On February 9, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by
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