Use Google services? Your iPhone may work better than an Android device

Use Google services? Your iPhone may work better than an Android device

Summary: Google continues to roll out enhanced services for the iPhone, including Google Play All Access Music and improved voice-enabled Google Now.


 |  Image 1 of 12

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Google services on the iPhone 5s

    Google continues to roll out their services to iOS, including Google Play Music launching late last week. The iOS apps miss some features seen in Android, but in other cases the applications look and perform better on the iPhone.

    I use quite a few Google services and lack of support for most of them in Windows Phone keep me from using that platform as my daily driver. Lately, I have been using and enjoying Android smartphones and thought that might be the best way to access Google services.

    With continued improvements in iOS Google apps, I have been able to enjoy Google services on my Apple iPhone 5s with few limitations.

    Google services provided on iOS include:

    • Google Search: The new Google Now functionality lets you state "OK Google" and then launch a search via Google Now. As you can see in my short video below, the iPhone 5s beat the Moto X every time I ran a search. I also tested my HTC One and while it was faster than the Moto X it was still slower than the iPhone 5s. The Nexus 5 may approach the iPhone 5s response since I believe the difference may be due to the phone's processor.
    • Chrome: Google Chrome is my preferred web browser and I love that bookmarks, search history, and everything else I use on the desktop is consistent across my devices.
    • Google Play Music: The experience is similar to Android, except you cannot purchase music directly in the app and there doesn't look to be I'm Feeling Lucky functionality.
    • Gmail: I prefer to use the Gmail app on the iPhone 5s instead of the iOS email app. The current version is similar to the older Android app without colored letters and such, but is still a very capable client.
    • Google+: This is one service that I think actually looks and functions better on the iPhone than it does on Android.
    • Google Maps: Google Maps functionality looks to be the same between iOS and Android.
    • Google Drive: Apple doesn't let you access the file structure of the iPhone, but the Google Drive app gives you access to all your documents and files in the cloud.
    • YouTube: While I don't watch a ton of YouTube videos, my MoTR podcast cohost Kevin Tofel told me you can stream purchased Google Play movies via the YouTube app on iOS and it works just fine.
    • Google Hangouts: Hangouts is a great way to stay in touch with friends using Google's ecosystem and it works just fine on iOS.
    • Quickoffice: Google purchased Quickoffice and the application is available for iOS and Android with some excellent functionality for viewing and editing Office documents.
    • Google Wallet: Google recently rolled out this service for iPhone users and just like most Android devices, other than the Nexus 5, Wallet is good for loyalty cards and sending payments via email. There is no NFC in the iPhone so now payments can be made with a tap. This is the same issue with nearly all Android devices since carriers block access due to secure elements.

    I think the only other Google services and apps I use on my Android phone that I don't see on the iPhone are Google Keep and Google Wallet. Chromecast support is provided in iOS through some Google services.

    In addition to the excellent Google services support, the iPhone 5s provides access to the Apple ecosystem as well as a solid Exchange experience. Exchange support is important to me and iOS beats what I get on Android smartphones.

    Further reading

  • Google services toggle on the iPhone 5s

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Gee...WHAT?

    Android's got a lot of catching up to do in speed. :(
    Grayson Peddie
    • ...

      It's slow because it's Motorola's Touchless Control. That's taking the voice command which is in turn opening Google Search. Hence why it takes longer.

      Bit of a pointless comparison.
      • Exactly

        Who is this yahoo doing this test? Doesn't he see it's opening google search a new every time. That's not an equal comparison. He should be using Google Search from within Google Now just like he is on the iPhone 5S.

        The fact that this guy doesn't know the difference means the whole article is suspect.
      • "It's slow because it's Motorola's Touchless Control."

        That's like a poorly integrated, less accurate version of Siri, isn't it?

        Voice recognition takes a lot of CPU power, so you'd expect an iPhone 5S to be quite a lot faster than MTC - as well as better.

        (BTW, Apple's maps have now surpassed Google's in almost every respect. After a rocky start, it took Apple just 14 months to do this.)
    • A better test

      The phrase "OK google now" wakes the moto x up through voice control, which then passes the commands to google now. (thats why its slower because its going through 2 speperate systems)

      Since both phones are already awake and on google now you should only use the phrase "Ok Google" as that activates voice control when google now is on screen.
      • That makes sense

        As I commented below, my cheap LG L9 was matching the iPhone by saying "Hey Google". (dual core)
    • Likely processor differences

      I ran the test with my HTC One that was a bit faster than the Moto X, but still slower than the iPhone 5s. I no longer have a Nexus 5, but that may get closer to the iPhone than even the One.

      The point of the article wasn't just about the Google Now speed, it was primarily about how good Google services are on the iPhone. This is one area where Windows Phone fails and why many people cannot use Windows Phone as their primary platform.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • But the video is

        So how about using "Okay Google" instead of "Okay Google Now". I would be interested in seeing that.
        • You wish... but No way, it does not happen.

          Actually, last night at a friends house in Houston he pulled out his 4s and 5s iPhones, and tried using google maps to find a given store,.... and the thing would just spin its wheels and display nothing. So he turned on the hot spot, got the Mac Air out and tried to bring Google maps on there.... blank screen. Alright, lets use Apple's version of maps... 20 min after we started no dice.

          Jumped over to my place, grabbed my my 4s, got to his, 2 seconds later, we had street view and it was working wonderfully with a nicer screen a easy to look at results. Rob new where he needed to be the next day. I didnt say a word about his devices. Actions speak for themselves.

          Well today, he needed to know where certain satellites where, and where they operated, so again there we go with the IOS stuff.. a lot of nice looking apps that provided no real good info. So some fellows from Nasa gave us a hand, and using another GS4 results where there in under two seconds.

          If you really believe that you have a better experience with IOs, I have this Sand Castle you may want to buy for lots of money, and you will be a happy camper with it. It works better than an iPhone.
          • My experience

            ... is similar to this. Having used an iPhone 4 and Galaxy S2 next to each other for about 2 years, I found the iPhone frustrating, slow and unintuitive in comparison. I'm not convinced the Exchange support is any better in iOS either. Maybe from a deep technical point of view it is, but as a user I saw no difference, other than the fact that it's easier to type replies with Swype.
          • Anecdotal evidence

            My bet: you and your friend using different Telcos.

            The speed differences are almost certainly due to phone coverage differences alone, and have nothing to do with the phone's capabilities.

            Your claim that Apple Maps on an Intel laptop was also under-performing is suspicious (unless the iPhone was being used as a hot-spot) as that could only happen if Apple's map servers were temporarily overwhelmed -not something you often see.
      • Still misses

        Till I can default the applicable G apps as default on my 5S.
        Primary reason my One is my main device.
      • If it was about Google Services....

        ...on the iphone, why not have some pics of Google + on the iphone. It was the only service that you said looks and performs better on the iphone (I think your search test was pointless). I would have been interested in why you thought it looked and performed better. Just issuing the opinion is another pointless exercise without the reasons to back it up.
  • Slow news day?

    This is definitely the strangest article I've written today - What is the point of it?
    • Ooops...

      ... I mean read.
    • Re: Slow news day....

      You mean bad news day. To be unable to accept iOS holds the higher ground over Android using native applications is easy to understand.

      So Android users have entered a state of denial whereas iOS users are in no way surprised as there is nothing strange about the article.
      • idiot

        a slower processor always nets slower results iSheep. get over yourself.
        • Who is the idiot?

          All other things being equal, a "slower processor always nets slower results."

          Given that the iPhone 5S is the fastest ARM processor available, it will net faster results, Fandroid.

          Listen to the facts.
  • Got an iPhone. Got NO Google apps on it. Not one. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

    See this smile? :-))))))))))
    • We are all very proud of you