Monday, August 16, 2010

Managing the Google-Apple war: keeping options open, expecting the Android bicycle computer

The Google-Apple war continues, with a new front opening last week. The notorious Larry Ellison, close ally of the infamous Steve Jobs, has attacked Google from the left flank. With Schmidt, Jobs and Ellison business is personal. They are more like feudal kings than the mythical servants of the board imagined in business schools.

On the main front Apple continues to block iPhone customers from delicious Google (Android) Apps (emphases mine) …

Practical Traveler - Google Maps Add a Feature for Bike Riders - NYTimes.com

… “For Google Maps not to have bike directions is like the Gap not selling underpants,” said Eben Weiss, the author of the BikeSnobNYC blog. “Even though it’s not 100 percent reliable, it’s still better to have it than in no form at all.”

Yet the reviews within the biking community, notorious for its outspokenness, have been mixed at best. There are the technical glitches, like its unavailability on the iPhone (it’s available only on BlackBerrys and Androids) …

At the moment my family is still best served by the iPhone/iTunes/App Store/OS X ecosystem, but between iOS weaknesses and Android strengths the balance continues to shift towards Google. I can imagine the day when I’ll call on resolution 242 and write-off the sunk costs of our FairPlay investments for the entire family.

Towards that day we keep our family domain in Google Apps, and use only Google’s Calendaring, Contacts and Mail services. MobileMe is the enemy, Microsoft’s (!) ActiveSync is our friend. I track my Apple dependencies, with a close eye on Apple’s Data Lock.

I’m also expecting to see an Android showing up in special purpose devices, such as Android bicycle computers and Android car computers. I’ll be favoring those as a partial end-run around Apple’s failures.

Life would be a lot easier if Jobs and Schmidt weren’t replaying the 10th century. Given Jobs undeniable genius, I’d love to see Schmidt take early retirement.

2 comments:

Martin said...

Google Apps: Do you use the paid version for your family? In general, I agree with you, I prefer Google Apps over MobileMe for use in my family (and in business anyway).

Google Contacts: How do you sync your contacts on your Macs? Address Book's default syncing? I ran into problems since Google Contacts does not support the same range of address fields as Mac OS X' address book.

I hope Google will enable the new Contacts web app for Google Apps ASAP.

Google Calendar: Have you managed to sync calendar colors by using Microsoft Exchange? On the Mac, I use BusySync, on iOS CalDAV due to the color problem with Microsoft Exchange (but I have not checked lately if the problem is still reproducible).

Have do you deal with invites? I noticed that Google Calendar saves invites in the main calendar without the possibility to move invites to other calendars.

John Gordon said...

We're on the free version for now. They need to introduce a cheaper five person rate for the paid version.

I use Spanning Sync to sync to Address Book, but the rest of the family really doesn't use Address Book. Google just redid their contacts data model so I wonder if 10.6 Exchange Server sync will start to work once, as you mention, they roll that out to Google Apps.

No, I gave up on the calendar colors problem.

Sadly I use invites as little as possible for several reasons including the one you mention.