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Google starts fighting back from inside iOS

Posted: , posted by Michael H.

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Google starts fighting back from inside iOS
We knew this day was coming from the moment we saw Google post the how to about forcing iOS into opening links in Chrome rather than the system default, and Safari. The first Google app has taken advantage of this method, Google+ now opens links through Chrome, if you have the browser installed on your iOS device. This came as part of the larger Google+ update that we saw earlier, but didn't notice at first. The reasonable first question to ask is how long before all Google apps take advantage of this method? But, we knew this was coming, and sooner or later every Google app will open links in Chrome. The more interesting question is whether or not Google will push other developers to do the same. 

The trouble is that Google has been a company that has had rocky relationships with other software developers in the past. The Facebook and Twitter apps are by far the biggest drivers of traffic besides Google search in the mobile world, but neither is likely to join Google. Google and Facebook have battled over the relative openness and sharing of information that should happen between companies in order to benefit the user, and other social networking issues. Google and Twitter had something of a falling out over the deal to include tweets in search results. Both Facebook and Twitter seem more likely to side with Apple in this effort, since Apple has proven to be a company more likely to appease others in favor of a deal, so if Google wants to make a dent, it would have to look to other apps.

Flipboard could be a great partner, especially seeing as how it seems like the company no longer holds ill will towards Google after the search giant threatened to make a competitor if Flipboard didn't sell. Of course, Google Currents essentially being a flop probably helped Flipboard to leave that in the past. A deal with Pinterest could also help quite a bit, but since Pinterest is still in a growing phase, it probably doesn't want to alienate any partners right now, especially one as powerful as Apple. 

That doesn't leave too many big name options for Google to recruit. And, without help Google may not get too far in any effort to subvert Apple's iOS system defaults. Google users on iOS will get a more cohesive Google experience by having Google apps tied together. And, with Maps and YouTube breaking off of the stock iOS system, this would mean Google could offer Chrome integration for Maps, YouTube, Google+, Currents, Voice, and Google Search. That's a pretty solid lineup of apps, even without anyone else joining the effort. 

Of course, users that deep into Google are probably more likely be on Android anyway, especially given the sheer quality difference between Chrome on iOS and that on Android, not to mention the feature difference between iOS and Android in Maps and YouTube, right now. Still, there may be a fair number of users who prefer Apple devices, but still use Google services. It's unclear how much those users would care about this type of integration though.

Ultimately, Google may just end up tying together its own apps, but at the least it would be interesting to see Google start an uprising from within the iOS ecosystem. It doesn't matter which side you prefer, it would, make for some good news days around here, and we are very curious to see just how Apple would deal with such action. We speculated before that Apple may remove the ability for apps to refer links, or it could open up the default settings in iOS which could lead to even more interesting developments. Regardless, we'll be watching, because while Google hasn't said anything explicit about being upset with Apple's war on Google products, and Android, it wouldn't be beyond Google's M.O. to try to disrupt an established system. 

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