We could have the most amazing toys if Apple and Google would play nice together more often. The iPad is a perfect example of this.
I recently picked up the trendy new tablet to use as an aid in teaching and for covering live events on location. It really is a great little machine, and is fantastic for creating audio, video, blog posts, or using social media.
One big fly in the ointment until recently was the fact that the iPad creators and the folks over at Google are frequently at odds. As a result, most of us who rely on Google Docs and other Google apps have found a substandard experience on iDevices. For example, while there are many apps that will allow you access to your Google Docs, it has, until recently, been nearly impossible to edit them from the iPad.
The big advance came recently when Google’s Chrome browser hit the app store. Allowing the ability to do almost everything a desktop browser can, it has seriously upped the game for mobile computing and collaboration. Having trouble editing Google Docs? With Chrome, you can switch to the full desktop view and use almost all of your usual editing tools.
Incognito browsing, multiple tabs, and the ability to synch with all your other personalized instances of Chrome make this a truly wonderful advance. If you use Chrome on multiple computers while you are signed into it all your data, bookmarks, form-fill options, etc., are accessible from your tablet with a single tap. Combine these qualities with the beautiful iOS interface, and you’ve got a winning combination.
Then, released at almost the same time as Chrome, came a beautifully updated Google+ app. The interface is fluid and inviting, partaking of the best of the Apple esthetic driven by Google’s firehose of data. The new update finally provides support for Hangouts (Google+’s video chat/conferencing platform). That’s a big step forward.
There are still a few hurdles though. Flash is still a no-no on Apple devices, so even with a desktop-style surfing experience there are some things you just won’t be able to see or do. As to Google+, it has the same major flaw the Facebook app had for a long time: There is no ability to admin or originate a Hangout from your page as opposed to your profile. Additionally, there seems to still be no option in the newly accessible Hangouts to the “On Air” broadcasting/archiving capability.
All in all, these two apps, despite those flaws, are exactly what the iPad needed. I look forward to seeing what the future updates hold.
Have you tried the new Chrome for iPad? What did you think?
George "Loki" Williams is the owner of SocialGumbo, LLC, an online consultancy specializing in Web content, community management and social media. Loki has produced content for clients including the Open Society Institute, National Association of Broadcasters and Kaiser Permanente. He is one of the organizers of the Rising Tide Conference in New Orleans, and his work has been seen or written about in The New York Times, The BBC, Air America, and NOLA.com, among others.