Google recently rolled out update to Gmail for iOS that will open links to Google services in the native Google app, if they’ve been installed. If you click on a YouTube link or Maps, the update will skip Safair and open the link in the corresponding Google app. The interesting twist is that standard URLs will open in Chrome instead of Safari.
So far both Google and Apple have been mum on the change and it remains to be seen if Apple will roll back some of these features. Apple doesn’t let users pick default applications in the iPhone, so this bold move by Google circumvents the typical user experience. Users can opt to turn the feature off, even at that it seems surprising Apple approved such a sweeping change.
Overall I see this as a good thing and Apple should get props for giving users the option to modify their default applications, even if it comes in the form of a hack by a competitive company. It’s a positive change that will make the iPhone even more attractive as users won’t have to choose between their favorite phone and their favorite online service apps. If Apple pushes users too hard they’ll switch to Android, it seems smarter to cooperate.
The world of technology truly does make some interesting bedfellows sometimes and it’s going to be fascinating to watch this change play out.