As it has been said here, Google’s ultimate goal is to build a kind of Star Trek Computer, a device that would answer any kind of question you might want to ask it, and that would predict your future queries. Such a device would also make science tremendously faster. That’s why Google is trying to gather all the world’s knowledge (the best example of this massive collecting endeavor being Google Books), to make its Star Trek Computer a reality. In this quest, Google doesn’t have any serious competition.
But when it comes to the devices we use to access Google’s services, the competition is enormous. Android phones and tablets, iPhones, iPads, Windows Phones, Surface, Windows laptops, ChromeBooks, Macs…
I’d argue that Apple makes by far the best hardware out there. Despite its “small” screen, the iPhone 5S is the best smartphone on the market. The iPad is the best tablet and the MacBooks are the best laptops on the market. Since last week’s WWDC, Apple is now making the best software, too. By bringing major updates to iOS with iOS 8, and redesigning the Mac’s interface in OS X Yosemite, Apple now has a huge advance over Google.
iOS and OS X now work seamlessly together thanks to Continuity, which allow users to go from an iOS device to a Mac (and vice versa) and continue their task without any friction. Apple has come up with the best solution yet to make all our devices work great together, so that switching from one device to another is perfectly natural. iOS and OS X are gorgeous, minimalist operating systems, and are the state of the art in terms of simplicity and security.
That’s my opinion at least, but many people agree with me without being Apple fanboys.
So while Google’s Star Trek Computer will certainly be amazing, the perspective of having to use it in a web browser or on just average Android devices feels a bit odd. If Google and Apple cooperated, they could integrate the Star Trek Computer in Apple devices too. And that would be awesome.
First of all, Apple should reintegrate Google Maps to replace the inferior Maps app it developed. I mean, come on Apple! You know Google is better at this than you are, so unless you have a better service, stick with Google’s.
The new Spotlight on OS X and iOS 8 is the best interface to integrate Google search. For now Spotlight relies on Wikipedia, Bing, Apple Maps, news services, but not Google. It’s a promising first step, but integrating Knowledge Graph results and Google News, Images, etc, in Spotlight would make it much better. The simple Spotlight interface is very close to the Google homepage, in fact, but it’s system-wide: you can access it wherever you are in your device, while you need to have Chrome opened to use Google’s solution. Integrating Google’s services (which will ultimately form the Star Trek Computer) into Spotlight would make Macs, iPhones and iPads amazing “knowledge machines” with which you could quickly search through all humankind’s knowledge an answer to your question(s).
The possibility to add widgets from the App Store in Notification Center both on iOS and OS X could allow Google to build a Google Now widget, enabling Apple users to have the great services Google Now offers to Android users without having to open the Chrome app again and again… And in iOS the “Extensibility” features for developers may allow Google to collect data from other apps to feed its Google Now widget (otherwise Google and Apple will have to work together to integrate Google Now in iOS).
To sum this up: Apple and Google, get your shit together, stop fighting over patents. You two can co-exist and cooperate to bring great products to your users. Google Search will ultimately become the fantasized Star Trek Computer App, while Apple should build the greatest devices for us to run this app.