Last week we heard that Google had no plans to develop apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. They’re also dropping the widely-used Exchange ActiveSync support on free Gmail accounts. Darren Murph of Engadget even went so far as to say that Windows Phone doesn’t stand a chance at success without Google support. We posted about a great new Google Voice app for Windows Phone last week as well, and that didn’t get a whole lot of fanfare. Could it be that Windows Phone users just don’t care about Google apps? Android users really don’t care about things like Apple’s iTunes either, right?
Perhaps it’s the ecosystem mentality. After all, when it comes to most of the Google apps and Google functionality, Microsoft has many equivalents in their ecosystem that are either almost as good, just as good, or better.
For example, instead of Google Docs, Microsoft still has the far more popular Office suite with a free web-based version as well as a free version on Windows Phone (and a much more powerful free version on Windows RT). Office 2013 integrates extremely well with the free Outlook.com email service as well as the free SkyDrive service, both of which have several advantages over Google’s Gmail and Google Drive. Microsoft also has the indispensable OneNote software that has no equal in Google’s ecosystem. For web searching, Bing is very comparable to Google in terms of reliable web searches, and has offered numerous innovative additions that Google has been trying to catch up to. Instead of Google Talk there’s the integrated Facebook chat and Live Messenger which combined have a far great user base in terms of instant messaging communications. Then there’s Skype which could kind of compete with Google Voice, but not really. Still Skype’s support for Windows Phone is expected to be better than any other platform though Skype will still aim to maintain its ubiquity across many platforms for the widest range of communications capabilities. YouTube is a big Google property that I think Windows Phone users definitely miss, however that hole has been filled pretty nicely by a number of third party apps like MetroTube which are arguably better than any YouTube app Google has ever made anyway.
Perhaps the biggest reason to miss Google apps on the Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms is the ability to collaborate with others who are far more invested in Google’s services and refuse to or can’t switch to services that are more cross-platform-friendly. Although Microsoft is certainly guilty of not always being terribly cross-platform-friendly as well (as is Apple) considering Office is still only available on Microsoft-owned operating systems (and Apple’s Mac OSX)… though rumor has it that may change in the future too. Google used to be very cross-platform-friendly in their “Do no evil” days, but it would seem that policy might be changing.
Do you really care about Google apps on Windows Phone? Have you found enough sufficient alternatives in Microsoft’s ecosystem? Or are there still a lot of things you miss and will be avoiding Windows as long as Google is avoiding Windows?