Google has released a standalone version of their calendar app for iPhone. No iPad version currently. Download for free on the App Store.
The iOS Google+ app has been updated with a iPad option, as well as being updated with these features:
- We recently launched Events on Google+, and now you can create and manage them right from your iPhone. Post a comment, upload a photo or check out who’s going. Your past event invitations are saved with all the photos and posts shared by your friends, so you can relive the party anytime you want.
- Start a Hangout from anywhere
- Start a Hangout from your iPad and stream it to your TV using AirPlay
I really love the tech and design of Google+ – but I’m not willing to try and convert anyone to use it just yet. And that’s perhaps the biggest problem facing Google. People will try and convince friends/family to join Twitter or Facebook. Google+ is still a ‘meh’ for most folks. You can circle me on Google+ if you like – but for right now it’s mostly links to blog posts here and the occasional attempt at Hangouts.
Apple is rumoured to be ditching Google Maps in iOS 6 and this has Google a bit concerned, understandably. iOS 6 is likely to be announced and possibly released at WWDC 2012 next week.
So Google held a press conference this week to announce their plans for maps. Which apparently went really well:
@jlgolson: That’s the worst presentation I’ve ever seen. How was that anything exciting at all? It was more the “history” of maps than the future.
@stevekovach: What a waste of time.
@MattRosoff: Takeaway: Google is terrified of Apple Maps whatever, and Apple hasn’t even announced anything yet.
What Google actually unveiled today is their own vulnerability in the space. Beyond a few tiny leaks, no one knows what Apple’s mapping product will be like. Google has by far and away the best mapping product on the planet. But they still felt the need to hold this meaningless press conference today. That’s fighting down, not up. And it’s a big mistake because it conveys the opposite of what Google was trying to convey: concern, not confidence.
Assuming Apple does unveil a new iOS maps app, the one big follow-up question is what will happen on the web? Apple doesn’t traditionally do a great job of web apps, although the iCloud.com web apps for Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find my iPhone are done surprisingly well for Apple1.
I think Apple will, at least initially, simply not care about the web side of mapping. They’ll ditch Google Maps as the backend for the native maps app in iOS and replace it with their own mapping app/technology. Most people assume the mapping app on iOS is one built by Google but it’s actually an Apple map, just using Google’s data/mapping service. Kind of like how iPhoto for iOS ($4.99 in the App Store) uses their own mapping technology for GPS coordinates of your photos. iPhoto for iOS was a test of Apple’s mapping tech.
I have no idea how many people use the native Maps app now on iOS as opposed to searching in Mobile Safari – but I know if I really want to find my way somewhere, the native app is much easier to use than browsing to Google Maps in Safari. So Apple takes over that experience and leaves the web browsing usage of mapping technology to Google – for now.
At some point in the future, Apple releases a Mac App using their technology so that you can more easily send directions and GPS coordinates between iOS and OS X.
Or maybe not? Maybe desktop/laptop usage of mapping technology is on the decline and Apple just focuses on making the best possible mapping app for iOS. If the app is so good on my iPhone, I’ll be much more inclined to pick that up if I need to find my way – even if I’m sitting in front of a 24″ iMac.
Whatever happens, it’d be interesting to be a fly on the wall of Google and Apple’s mapping teams as it all plays out over the next couple of weeks.
- iWork.com on the other hand is a very pretty way of looking at your documents without actually being able to do anything with them. It’s the strip club of web apps. ↩
More information here. Google is making an interesting play to go directly to the user and bring them directly to the web – skipping any Microsoft/Apple involvement. They’ll be priced at $28 per user per month for businesses and $20/user/month for Education/Government.
Wow is this (free!) app amazing: Google Translate for iOS (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, also available as a Android app)
Once installed, tap the microphone icon and simply speak the word or phrase you’d like to translate. It then brings back the translated text which you can then show to someone on your iPhone or press the speaker icon to have it speak the phrase for you. If you turn the phone to landscape mode, it gives you a large version of the text to make it easier to show someone:
You can save, or star, phrases that you use more often so that if you don’t have a internet connection you can still use the app to communicate key phrases.