Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

Summary: Google has started a campaign to hire mobile app developers for its own applications. It is likely Google has realized that mobile apps are better than web-based portals into online activities.

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TOPICS: Google, Mobility
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The WSJ has reported that Google has started a campaign to hire mobile app developers for its own applications, and some third party apps. This move is a change from the company's previous position of building web apps for everything. It is likely Google has realized what mobile users have come to understand, that mobile apps are better than web-based portals into online activities.

According to the WSJ sources, Google is looking to hire "software engineers, product managers, user-interface experts and others who have ideas for mobile apps". This in-house development effort will span multiple Google offices and push to produce solid apps for Google's mobile customers. It is not clear if the focus will be solely on Android smartphone apps, or also include tablet apps as this segment is heating up this year.

Mobile users have voted with their downloads that mobile apps are a preferable way to interact with online services. For most mobile platforms you check, a Facebook app is one of the top apps installed by users. The Facebook service is accessible via mobile web browsers, but users appreciate the enhanced (and simpler) experience obtained through using the mobile apps.

Even Google's own Gmail web site, which has been optimized for access through mobile browsers, is usually accessed through mobile apps on the major platforms. The user interface for working with email is tailored for use on the mobile platform, resulting in a user experience that is easier and more pleasurable to use. This is obviously not lost on Google, who now looks to build its own apps.

There is no timeframe stated to indicate when to expect Google's mobile apps, but the company tends to move at light speed with efforts such as this once committed. The beneficiaries of such development will be Google's mobile user base, but third party app developers must be getting nervous with this news.

Topics: Google, Mobility

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37 comments
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  • So I guess...

    ...that means fat clients win--again. :)

    Well, reasonably fat. Today's smart phones are as powerful as computers were a decade ago, so they can definitely run applications, right? Fat and getting fatter!
    wolf_z
    • That can't be right. I keep reading from one of the users here that

      @wolf_z <br>people are in love with web based solutions that apps are a dying breed only M$ will be creating apps that nobody will use.<br>I don't know who to believe anymore!!! google says one thing and donnieboy something different!!
      Ron Bergundy
      • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

        @Ron Bergundy
        http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-17924-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=74085&messageID=1434029
        Interesting this was posted in "Linux All The Way"...and it comes back to you....Donnie
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • ItsTheBottomLine, I don't believe that's DonnieBoy

        as the responses are "way too over the top" to be anything other then fake. IMHO, I think "Ron Bergundy" is just making the people he "agrees with" look as foolish as he?

        That's just how [b]I[/b] read into him/her, I could be wrong.
        John Zern
      • So much for HTML5 domination

        What does it tell you about the future of H5 when its biggest promoter is blinking now?
        LBiege
    • Well, the local app is still a thin layer to access the website. This does

      not mean that it will always be this way. As we get HTML5 fully implemented, there will be less reason for local apps. Of course Google will enjoy the same kind of lock that MS did with Win32.
      DonnieBoy
    • makes sense

      @wolf_z
      It's easier to program on the client if you need a nicer UI and experience at low memory and CPU usage.
      Linux Geek
    • Web apps are fatter than the equivalent native app

      @wolf_z
      Echoing Linux Geek, web apps are much more bloated than the equivalent native app. Take Gmail for example, it's pretty simple appearing but is doing tons behind the scenes (compiling 1/2 a MB of JavaScript for example). The equivalent native app would be much simpler to write. Computers/browsers of 10 years ago would struggle to run the Gmail of today, but the equivalent native app would run great.
      PB_z
    • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

      @wolf_z Don't know about fat clients, but I have been saying this for sometime. Web is nice, but it is limited on what it can offer from a UI and user experience (i.e. see Google Docs) when compared to a mobile/local app like OO or Office in this example.
      ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

      @wolf_z WOW Look ALL of Donnies personalities are commenting...must be low on meds.
      ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

        @ItsTheBottomLine

        And we figured this out at Openwave almost a decade ago. But the carriers then still had a stranglehold on the market, and they would not listen. So nobody noticed when Openwave introduced the mobile version of Javascript, now known as EMAscript. Nobody took advantage of it, nobody took us up on our offer to write an OS the the mobile phone to become the standard for writing apps...

        Then again, if we at Openwave had pushed that forward, I doubt we would have done as good a job as Google has done with Android.
        mejohnsn
  • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

    It didn't work for Apple so why in the world does Google think it would have worked for them? I image their developers will make the apps as minimal as possible, they wouldn't want anything to get in the way of playing with their office toys. Not to worry, you can expect the same horrible service from Google that they have always given you.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

      @Loverock Davidson And the same horrible service that Microsoft has given, over the last say 25 years, is any better? Oh wait I forgot who I was responding to...
      Rick_K
      • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

        @Rick_K : Thanks! We are now relieved! We should feel happy for Google's crappy service, because M$ service is also crappy!. Bravo Mr. Crappy, keep living in your mediocrity
        nomorebs
  • users do not want web apps

    not true
    james347
  • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

    Native apps have better UI than browser based apps. The UI on browser apps also has to reload every time the user presses a button. How much does that suck?!

    Good to see users are voting with their app downloads. :-)
    jhughesy
  • Even apps still may be parts of the web

    An interesting move. But it may be temporary until HTML5 + native clients will mature. Tim Bray http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/ once said that something like - even apps can be considered as part of the web, provided they provide better interface to data available on web (i.e. - addressable by URL.)
    vkelman@...
  • No kidding

    I don't see what is surprising.
    The best kind of applications is the smartclient category, native applications consuming services.
    This way when there is no available web connection the user is not stuck and can benefit from a fast, nice U.I.
    Even html5 applications will look a lot like smart clients in some way, thus why not use smart client to begin with ?
    timiteh
  • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

    The web have always seem to take precedence over native apps for Google. A good example of this is their "Google Mobile App" for the iPhone, it just serves as a launcher to their web services (Docs, Talk, Buzz...), nothing native. I stopped using it a while back once I learnt this. I didn't need an app taking me to the web each time, I could do that myself. Even when native apps like YouTube and Google Maps are on the iPhone, the GMA take you to their web page instead. Horrible.

    The web currently does not offer as good a UI experience as native Apps. Needs constant connection just to open when native apps can cache files. Slower. Same boring browser UI from decades past.
    dave95.
    • RE: Google to make mobile apps because users do not want web apps

      @dave95. Why should Google care how you consume their search results? Whether it's through a fat client or the web browser you will still get the ads.
      MSFTWorshipper