Remember that old saying that “those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it?” Google seems to be blissfully unaware of it and is set on following in Microsoft’s footsteps by pushing interface elements from Android on iOS users.
Jason Snell reports for Macworld:
As someone in Google’s ecosystem as well as Apple’s, I’m happy that they continue to develop apps for iOS. Unfortunately, every time I open one of them, I’m brought back to the mid-’90s and Word 6.
I don’t know the reason–arrogance, pride, or a lack of desire to do the extra work are all options–but for a while now, Google has insisted on using the Material Design approach when creating iOS apps. Just as Word 6 inflicted Windows conventions on Mac users, Google’s iOS apps inflict Android on iOS users.
Open Google Docs for iOS and you’re whisked into a Material Design world. To create a new document, you must tap a large red circle at the bottom right corner of the screen. The options icon is three vertical dots, rather than the three horizontal dots favored by Apple. Menus display in Material Design style, white cards on a gray background.
A couple of years ago, Google design chief Matias Duarte declared that using nonstandard icons on iOS was fine, because it was “part of Google’s brand.”
More at Macworld
I think it’s a big mistake for Google to push Material Design on iOS users. It’s a mark of the company’s arrogance that it thinks it can do so with impunity, and it has the potential to generate some serious ill-will toward Google by iOS users.
It’s not as if Google doesn’t have the financial or staff resources to create an interface that fits into iOS rather than pushing stuff from Android. Google is one of the biggest companies in the world, it’s not some tiny startup with limited resources. It has so much money that creating interfaces that adhere to iOS design guidelines should be a very trivial matter for the company.
So it seems pretty clear that Google has decided to use Material Design interface elements deliberately as part of a strategy to promote its Android products and its brand. But in doing so it is pretty much slapping iOS users in the face and telling them that they are using the wrong mobile operating system.
Talk about hubris! It’s also a quick way to alienate iOS users from Google’s services and apps. iOS users picked iOS for certain reasons, if they’d wanted Android they would have bought an Android phone or tablet instead of one of Apple’s devices.
Thankfully, this isn’t an issue I have to deal with personally on any of my iOS devices. These days I prefer DuckDuckGo to Google’s search since DuckDuckGo doesn’t track or filter bubble me. And the only other Google service I use is Gmail, which works well in Apple’s default Mail app.
Google, of course, can do whatever it likes with its iOS apps but iOS users can also opt to kick Google to the curb. It’s quite easy to switch from Google’s apps to Apple’s for most services. And there are plenty of third party apps that be used as replacements for Google’s services as well.
When enough iOS users have dumped Google’s apps, the company might realize that it made a big mistake pushing Material Design on Apple’s customers.
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