My sources are very good. Unfortunately, they apparently do not have very good taste.
As I noted a couple days ago, Google was about to launch a native Gmail app for iOS. It came this morning. Unfortunately, while I had been told it was “pretty fantastic”, the app that got released is anything but. As a result, Google quickly became the laughing stock of the Internet for a few hours this morning. The app was so bad, that they had to pull it saying: “Sorry we messed up”.
Simply put: I should have known better.
I’ve bitched a lot about Google’s atrocious track record when it comes to iOS development. Given the size and importance of the company, it’s a joke really. Yes, they have Android, which they are clearly going to favor over Apple’s rival mobile platform, but come on.
When you release sub-par products, you look sub-par yourself. Customers don’t care what platform it’s on, and don’t care what politics are going on behind the scenes at the company. If you release shit, you look like shit. It’s much better to release nothing at all.
Perhaps that’s a bit harsh. The native Gmail app isn’t really shit (though some would disagree) — it’s just buggy as fuck and extremely underwhelming. It’s just a wrapper around UIWebView. That means the only native thing about the app is Push Notifications. And guess what they managed to fuck up? Yup.
And all of this is the M.O. of pretty much all Google iOS apps. They’re half-ass, buggy, and generally ugly to boot.
Last week I wrote about one potential issue for Apple in the post-Jobs era. When Jobs took the stage to unveil something, people got excited not just because he was a great showman but because it instilled an underlying belief that what he was going to unveil would be great. You know that whatever it was, he signed off on it. And the vast majority of the time, it was great. That built trust. Faith.
With Google in recent years, the opposite seems to be true.
I specifically remember being excited about the launch of Google Calendar in 2006 because Google was a company cranking out hit after hit after hit. Great products. But recently, what have they done?
You can argue that Android is pretty solid now, but that’s after years of iteration. At first, it basically sucked. Chrome has been great, but it now seems to be getting more buggy, not less, over time. Google Voice? Decent, but not what it should be. Google+? Not bad, but issues. Google TV? Yeah. Google Music? Ha. Google Wave? Sigh. Etc, etc, etc.
That’s maybe my biggest problem with Google. They release something, and I no longer have any faith that it’s going to be any good. It’s hard to get excited about a company like that. It’s the same reason why it’s hard to get excited when Microsoft and Yahoo release new things. The track record just isn’t there any more. The faith is gone.