March 30, 2015

March Madness: Apple and Google Still Facing Off Over New Business Ventures



 http://media.salon.com/2010/03/apple_vs_google_the_smartphone_smackdown.jpg
By Justin H.

The two tech giants would not fare so well on the basketball court, but Apple and Google continue to re-enforce their statuses as the top dogs of the industry. Since both companies wear so many hats in the technology field, they often overlap when it comes to projects and business endeavors.

Believe it or not, Google and Apple actually get along quite nicely despite being located just 21 miles apart from one another. It’s always nice to see a little friendly competition instead of constant clashing!

Here is a rundown of three areas where Google and Apple have recently blazed similar trails.

Google Fit Vs. Apple Health


A screenshot of Google Fit's step counter next to a screenshot of Apple Health charts.
Photo courtesy of techtimes.com

Since late 2014, both Google and Apple have tried their hand at mobile fitness in their respective Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8 software updates. Thus far, both have maintained an even pace without surpassing each other.

The strong points of Google Fit are that it automatically logs your walking, running, and cycling activity. You can even set it to include many other activities, such as swimming or snowboarding. Another advantage is that it also has a readily-accessible web interface.

On the other side of the coin, Apple Health allows you to track everything from sleeping patterns, to body temperature, and even dietary intake. It also paints a full picture of your medical history, as opposed to Google’s short-term goals of whether or not you hit your daily step count.

The problem with both Google Fit and Apple Health is that they pull a lot of their information from third-party apps. As standalone fitness apps in their infantile stages, they both still struggle and act more as middlemen. Many of the more popular fitness apps such as Jawbone’s Up app and Fitbit function alongside Google Fit or Apple Health, but not both. Some have even shunned Google Fit and Apple Health altogether, opting for applications like Under Armour’s new $475 million buddy, MyFitnessPal. Both apps also offer no coaching or ways to help you improve upon your fitness goals. They simply track the basics for casual users.

Apple and Google may be quietly tip-toeing into this market, as opposed to kicking the doors in so they can work with other companies and eventually grow their fitness presences. Instead of butting heads, they are each trying to find their second wind to avoid getting lapped by others in the race.

Google Maps Vs. Apple Maps


This is the area where it is hard to compete with Google. Apple has made big strides in recent years, improving its accuracy due to acquisitions of many mapping companies, such as HopStop and Locationary. However, it is difficult to envision Apple ever becoming the go-to option.

Google has a $500 million Skybox acquisition under its belt, as well as a team of operators who manually correct mapping errors. However, both map apps do have their own features that make them unique. For instance, Apple’s incredible animated 3D imagery allows you to tell real time on Big Ben.

On the other hand, how can you really compete with underwater Google Street View?

MacBook Vs. Chromebook Pixel


An Apple MacBook balanced on one corner on a flat surface.
Photo courtesy of Forbes.com

Just days after Apple announced its beautiful new MacBook, Google came out and unveiled its latest Chromebook Pixel.

One of the big new trends in the tech world is the onset of type-C USB ports. These are designed with an eye towards the future. Type-C ports serve as a reversible plug, which equates to faster charging, quicker transfer rates, and more. It allows for laptops and phones to be charged from the same port. The new MacBook has a type-C port, while the Chromebook sports two of them. By having just one, it indicates that Apple is more fixated on a wireless future where we store everything in the Cloud. Talk about confidence!

Both computers took a very different route in development. The new MacBook features an aesthetically pleasing design and 8 times the amount of storage as the Chromebook. The Chromebook offers more processing power but fewer overall capabilities outside of Google services and web-based apps. Both are, once again, great products. In the end, it is up to the user what he or she really wants out of their next laptop.

Conclusion


There is no loser in this battle. The similar products of Google and Apple both have pros and cons, but share the same goals of pleasing the masses and pushing the envelope of the tech industry. Regardless of where your allegiance lies, there is nothing but respect in this Tek Shouts! matchup of Google and Apple.

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