How Google got their design together on iOS

How Google went iOS

There's an argument to be made that one of the best Google phones on the planet right now is the iPhone 5. Over the last few months Google has been rolling out better looking and more functional iPhone and iPad apps. From Google+ to Gmail, Google Maps to YouTube, Chrome to Google Drive, they've introduced a more consistent, more usable, more human experience on iOS -- arguably even more so in some ways than what they offer on their own, competing platform, Android. That includes playful pull-to-refresh implementations, prominent photos and profile pictures, and other consistent cues that suggest a coordinated maturation of their design language. To find out more, Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web spoke to Jason Cornwell, lead designer of Gmail for iOS:

“You have to live on the platform you’re developing for. The designers and developers that work on this app are iPhone natives and use iPhones all the time as their main phone,” he says.

“You have to live on a platform to understand the subtlety of the patterns…and what represents good design on that platform.”

Panzarino points out the widely-held understanding that Google still earns more money from iOS than they do from Android, and Cornwell talks of going to where the customers are.

Right now the Google suite of iOS apps are generally cleaner, simpler, and more consistent that Apple's own iOS apps, though a lot of that comes at the expense of a menu button that hides a ton of disparate elements in a sidebar (i.e. the hamburgers and basements of Mountain View). They also work together as much as iOS allows, using URL schemes to open each other rather than Apple's default apps whenever possible.

It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Apple and their new head of Human Interface, Jony Ive, respond to the increasingly solid, enormously popular Google presence with iOS 7 in 2013.

In the meantime, check out the rest of Panzarino's article and interview via the link below. (And don't miss the post slug.)

Source: The Next Web

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 15 comments. Add yours.

Premium1 says:

Unless apple develops all these apps on their own, I think we will continue seeing a strong Google presence in IOS7, regardless of how apple wants to cut Google out of the equation, we all see how that ended up with maps

EgoAttack says:

Think twice... If Apple not kick out Google Maps, Google won't make a better Maps for iOS. You have to thanks to Apple decision. Now you can have more choice Apple Maps and Google Maps.

Premium1 says:

Uum did you not read my comment. That's exactly what I said.... And the old google maps was still better than apples maps so your point is invalid. Plus the other apps got updated without regards to being 'kicked out'

BlaqkAudio says:

Google's apps, while beautiful, still look like they were designed for Android and transplanted into iOS. The sharp, straight edges contrast iOS's rounded corners.

Lukef says:

When they get the whole battery life thing sorted out (gmail drains my battery like woah) and the stupid horizontal swipe gesture to show the menu vs archive/delete situation standardized, then we can party. Until then, nup. That said, it's nice to see something different from google.

The deal with iOS is that it needs to feel like it's an iOS app. Apps on iOS are not windows phone apps, nor are they android apps. Take it or leave it.

Premium1 says:

I have no issues with battery life with the new gmail app. I don't think it's gmail draining your battery

Jo2reco says:

I just have to say this. Google wants the world to use its products. And they want the world to see their advertisements. If windows phone and BB mobile operating system ever become revelant. I guarantee Google will have the best looking apps there too. You can hat google but right now you can escape them. Oh just do you know I love my iPhone 4s. Before it I had a 3GS. And before that I had an. AT&T Tilt. So dont call me a Fandroid. Never owed one. Have played with them but live my iPhone. I wish Apple and Google had got married.

mazzmoney95 says:

Google needs to be on iOS for now. Inevitably Android will overtake iOS in everything (not because it's better but because of the nature of open source), and making apps for iOS will become less of a priority. While it is true that the iPhone is one of the best Google Phones out (aside from any phone with Android 4.1, which is most phones from 2012) I wonder how long that'll be for. Of course, that day isnt anytime soon, at least not for another 2 years.

keneo says:

Thanks for your opinion on whether or not Android eventually overtake iOS. But that's a bit of a bold statement considering new figures that came out Friday showing that for the first time ever, iPhone has attained 53% smart phone market share in the US. Surpassing the 50% milestone. Thats up from 37% same time last year. Well talk again where Apple releases it quarterly results in January, and again afetr Apple finaly signs on with China Mobile.

For me, open source has never lived up to the great expectations that people (including myself) had assigned it. Plenty of open source projects stagnate and even die on the vine. And ultimately there is always one decision maker who must control development of a fork.

I think it may be true that Apple has been coasting for a while. And that is why I believe that Apple realizes that its time for a shake up. They are due.

mazzmoney95 says:

Like I said, not any time soon.

keneo says:

Thanks for your opinion on whether or not Android eventually overtake iOS. But that's a bit of a bold statement considering new figures that came out Friday showing that for the first time ever, iPhone has attained 53% smart phone market share in the US. Surpassing the 50% milestone. Thats up from 37% same time last year. Well talk again where Apple releases it quarterly results in January, and again afetr Apple finaly signs on with China Mobile.

For me, open source has never lived up to the great expectations that people (including myself) had assigned it. Plenty of open source projects stagnate and even die on the vine. And ultimately there is always one decision maker who must control development of a fork.

I think it may be true that Apple has been coasting for a while. And that is why I believe that Apple realizes that its time for a shake up. They are due.

keneo says:

Thanks for your opinion on whether or not Android eventually overtake iOS. But that's a bit of a bold statement considering new figures that came out Friday showing that for the first time ever, iPhone has attained 53% smart phone market share in the US. Surpassing the 50% milestone. Thats up from 37% same time last year. Well talk again where Apple releases it quarterly results in January, and again afetr Apple finaly signs on with China Mobile. For me, open source has never lived up to the great expectations that people (including myself) had assigned it. Plenty of open source projects stagnate and even die on the vine. And ultimately there is always one decision maker who must control development of a fork. I think it may be true that Apple has been coasting for a while. And that is why I believe that Apple realizes that its time for a shake up. They are due.

Dev from tipb says:

Google needs to be on iOS, period. Google is not concerned with making or being on only the top platform. Google (and I say this as a fan) is concerned with eyeballs. It is in their best interest to be on *every* platform which can return more useful data than the development cost to support it. They can ignore what is left of Symbian, perhaps BB, perhaps WinPho 7/8, but iOS is not going to fall below that threshold anytime soon.

Plazmic Flame says:

The new crop of Google apps are amazing!