2/2/10

Why Google is More Awesome than Apple

Ok, granted, this isn't a far stretch for a lot of people. Lots of people are already anti-fans of Apple. Even if they develop something good for a reasonable price, these people will still find something to complain about. Regardless, there is a step above Apple, and they haven't even made their own computer yet. Yet.

While everyone else was drooling (or spitting) on the iPad, Google released some UI designs for a Chrome Tablet. And while this is obviously not something that's in production yet, the very fact that this information is out in the open represents one of the key reasons that Google is so much more awesome than Apple.

Openness.
From its inception, Apple has notoriously kept things to themselves. They failed to become as popular as Microsoft for that very reason. This has come with some ups and downs. The upside is that they make products that simply work. You don't have to worry about cross-compatibility because, well... they're not cross-compatible. The problem with this is that when the Internet came everything had to be cross-compatible. When everyone is looking at the same web page from different browsers on different operating systems, there's just no way you can maintain a closed ecosystem. This is one reason Apple decided to rethink their philosophy on this issue, but they still greedily inspect every app that comes their way for the iPhone.

Google, on the other hand, is a company that operates and was founded on a principle of openness. While Apple tried to keep their tablet a secret until they announced it to the world, Google is sharing designs before anything has even been produced.

The Wisdom of Crowds.
This isn't such a good idea when it comes to objective realities, but it can be awesome when applied to what people want in particular product. Apple hates the wisdom of crowds, apparently. They just assume that they can produce the awesome without consulting anyone. In some cases that's true. In the case of the iPad... it's questionable. When it comes to the Chrome OS tablet, Google is following their same old philosophy. No, not "don't be evil." "Release first, ask questions later." This philosophy sucks for hardware, works pretty well with software. Which is why they're releasing concepts before they release the actual thing. When they get the actual product out there, there will be no time for questions. People will have to waste money on a new product if they want an upgrade instead of just downloading it.

Ever since Gmail, Google has released their software products under open beta to gain as much information on the product as possible before they open wide. Apple doesn't know the meaning of the concept of open beta.

Geekiness.
Yeah, Apple has their share of geeks, but no ideological culture has infiltrated the Internet quite like Google's. Apple has a culture of artistic, douchey fancy-pants with turtlenecks while Google has a culture of being the geek next door. The friend who fixes your computer after playing a round of Left 4 Dead. Also the one who's comfortable making Firefly references in their coding and talking in lolspeak where appropriate. Apple sits on high with their Macs and their iPods and glares down at us ants with the knowledge that we'll flock to whatever shiny product they put before us. Google is more friendly, more geeky and they're just as excited about their work as we are. And that makes them awesome.

Summary.
Here's how I would put it if I were to boil it all down. Microsoft is in it for the money, Apple is in it for the power, Google is in it for the fun of it. Yes, that's completely overly-simplistic and, in many of the employees' cases, probably isn't true, but it gets my point across. If you're looking for a corporate giant that doesn't feel like a corporate giant, you're looking for Google. (Incidentally, they share many of the same philosophies with Linux... but they're too complicated.) And as long as Google continues to be as open and honest as they are today, they will continue to be awesome.