I think that one thing that companies like Google or Facebook have over Apple in terms of design is a more modern and more open company culture: they encourage designers to iterate, share, publish case studies, blog…
As opposed to Apple, where you get the feeling everything is the result of a very rigid, very strict process that isn't as permeable to the outside world.
So paradoxically, while Apple is great at coming up with new ideas and innovations (Apple Watch, 3D touch, touchbar, face ID…) those ideas tend to not be as well-designed as they should be.
In other words Google might not come up with the idea for the touchbar, but if it did implement one I'm pretty sure it would be more useful than the one on my macbook.
Can I go on a tangent, and highlight touchbar as a failure? (total case of "imo")
It is. As Apple fanboi I, myself drew a line and said I don't want the cruft. No Touchbar laptop for me.
The touch bar is absolutely terrible.
I agree, perhaps it is waiting for improvement.
Couldn't agree more. Lately, it feels like Apple has overwhelmed itself.
Agree completely about open company culture. Apple's culture of secrecy seems to be evolving into a massive problem for the efficiency of the organization and their ability to innovate (and hilariously, the secrets always end up getting leaked anyways). Their product line is expanding and fragmenting every single year, and it's increasingly clear to me that their old culture is not scaling well to meet the increased demand on their teams.
Google also has advantage of not being a 40+ year old company. You cannot imagine the sheer amount of legacy systems, bureaucracy, old management theories, and ineptitude that probably still exists from 1980s and 1990s Apple.
...but all of that said, I personally believe Material Design to be the worst, most heavy-handed and gratuitous design system in use by a major tech company today. Its poor implementation across many Android apps is the biggest reason I switched to iOS recently. iOS is still the most user-friendly OS on the market today. But in the future? who knows.
Somebody is trying to get a job at Google.
Depends, Google also ran Nest into the ground.
ran nest into the ground? care to elaborate?
I personally don't think it's fair to say that Google ran Nest into the ground, but here's my understanding of events.
Google acquires Nest, things are going ok, Nest hires a ton of people and Google is, at first, patient. Then years go by and Nest doesn't really put out any major products. Some people blame Google, some people blame Tony Fadell. Fadell is former Apple and basically set himself up as the Steve Jobs of IoT devices, so lots of projects getting killed for not living up to his standards.
Meanwhile, Google acquires Dropcam, which at the time had really started picking up steam in the IoT, and they do it without Fadell's input and throw it onto Nest. Fadell and Dropcam's CEO are polar opposites of one another and basically come to hate one another. Fadell starts shitting on Dropcam acquisition hires, and Dropcam's CEO starts publicly talking about how he regrets selling his company to Google/Nest.
A year later, Google restructures into Alphabet, and Nest is now its own company independent of Google. This posed two problems for Nest: Alphabet won't fund Nest to the same extent Google would, and Nest can't hide behind the massive advertising revenue that Google makes. Alphabet expects to see results now, not at some point in the future.
Fadell leaves, he's replaced by Marwan Fawaz, who came from the Motorola acquisition.
I'm against the opinion that Nest has been run into the ground, but Nest is supposed to be the key in Alphabet's IoT play, and it so clearly isn't anymore. Yeah, they make sensors and cameras still and the product line has finally filled out, and I'm sure that the Nest thermostat still sells well, but the biggest product in Alphabet's IoT future is at Google, and it's Google Home. Really, it should have been nest that lead the smarthome assistant, that operates as the hub for all your IoT devices, but really Nest has ceded that future Google, Apple, and Amazon. Now they're just another device maker playing in a larger ecosystem.
Well put, thanks for sharing!
You think Joshua Topolsky is trying to get a job at Google?
Rather than running Nest into the ground, is it not plausible that they integrated a lot of the tech into the new range of products and buying Nest was just a patent thing?
Except when they are not. The GMail iOS app is a complete mess.
As is Google Calendar (desktop / non-app). I use it so much, I wish they cleaned it up a bit.
I remember seeing screenshots for the new Google Calendar design in beta testing.
Does anyone still use that? I'm running their Inbox app on my Pixel.
I need a simple gmail client. For email. Not for promotions or snoozing stuff or having the client prioritize stuff. Just send and receive email. I used Inbox for a while, but dropped it due to it's less than compact interface, and Google screwing up the typography again, just like they did in the GMail app.
Gmail and Calendar are great on Android. Problem with iOS versions is that they are forcing Material Design patterns instead of adopting iOS patterns.
The second paragraph is written by an insane person. Not surprised to see Topolsky in the byline. My mans is hyperbole incarnate.
The product design is, at best, par for the course. It looks like an extension of their previous products and the general overall vibe of product design in the space these products exist in. I have no idea how someone can be so enamored with these products to write this:
You could imagine them in your living room, your den, your bedroom. Your teleportation chamber.
Not that they aren't pretty or well designed... but to suggest that the design on display here is "like something future humans had made; people who'd gotten righteously drunk with aliens" is absolute bananas ass bonkers.
Very dramatic. I don’t understand why design at Apple and Google has to be seen as this competition where one company has to be awesome and the other terrible. They are different, they have strengths and weaknesses. If both do amazing stuff, we all gain. Let’s cheer good work, let’s criticize where it’s deserved. But let’s not look at it as a death match. YOLO
I almost think what's more important is that Google has started to find their own design style and voice thats actually pretty solid. Is it better than Apple? Some of that is subjective. However, they do have a clearer vision for Google design than they did just a few years ago.
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Think Josh is just upset Apple have blacklisted him for events
Truth be told, Google is getter better at design! they just have to fix that aweful gmail Pp.