We are all mobile geeks, here at Android Authority. We love everything with a power button. We like to comment the latest news and endlessly argue over which phone is better. On the Friday Debate, we pick a hot issue and proceed to discuss it. Join us!
Oh my god, they killed Reader! That was the general reaction of the internet last week, when Google announced its latest spring cleaning. Since then, gallons of digital ink have been spilled lamenting the demise of Reader, but also questioning the wisdom of investing so much of our digital (and physical) lives into one company. Let’s face it, if you are anything like me, you’ve already put too many of your virtual eggs in Google’s basket.
Which leads us to the theme of this week’s Friday Debate: What Google product you couldn’t live without?
Read our arguments, vote in the poll, sound off in the comments!
David Gonzales (G+): I am not that into Google
Like most people, Google’s decision to kill off Reader took me completely by surprise. I’ve barely touched it since they made the official announcement. I just feel like it’s completely useless or dead now even though I know it’s going to be up for a few more months.
And because of the whole Google Reader kerfuffle, I’ve come to realize that I can actually get by just fine without using many of Google’s services. Google Search is, by far, still my most-used service from Google — mostly because other than being a search engine, it’s also a spell checker, a calculator, a dictionary, a currency converter, and much more — but I can’t say I wouldn’t be able to live without it.
Maybe I’m just being careful, but I honestly can’t see myself relying too much on the services of the company that Google has shown itself to be with its infamous Google Reader move. I’m only human and I don’t think I can suffer another heartbreak.
A lot of Google applications have become a permanent part of my daily routine. The most important is Google Search, which as +David Gonzales mentioned, works as a spell checker, currency converter, dictionary, and a lot more. Gmail, for both personal and professional use (We use Google Apps for Business here at Android Authority). Maps for navigation, which I need almost everyday since I moved to a new city. All my music is on Play Music. All my documents and pictures are on Google Drive. I’ve also completely shifted from desktop office applications to using Google Docs/Drive. I moved all my notes from Evernote, Inkpad, etc. to Google Keep, hours after it was announced. And of course, Chrome, Google+, Google Talk, and more.
At this point, I feel like all I need to do is buy a Chromebook and move to Kansas City so I can use Google Fiber, to completely immerse myself in the world of Google.Can I live without any of these apps? Sure. Probably. Maybe? I don’t know!
Robert Triggs (G+): Google Search FTW!
“Google products” hey? Then how about the Google Search Engine?
Google.co.uk is still by far my most frequently visited website, and a Google search bar sits on both my Android and PC desktops to resolve my day to day queries. I can’t fault it, and improvements to the image search, news results feed, consumer review integration, and various tweaks to all of the other search categories over the years still makes the old search engine stand out head and shoulders above any other.
Maps, Gmail, and Google Now are all great apps in their own way, but nearly everything Google does is based on its ability to trawl the web for the information you need.
It might seem like a cop-out, but if you were to seriously ask me which Google service I’d save if all the others were to be switched off, it would have to be the search engine which made Google the prominent technological powerhouse that it is today.
Derek Ross (G+): I live on Google Plus
Google’s array of products and services are embedded into my every day life. I find it hard to pick one product that I could not live without, as I use many Google products and services on a daily basis. All of which are part of my normal life and any change, such as Reader, is disruptive.
If I had to choose one, it would be Google+. Google+ has completely changed my life. On a personal level, I’ve made countless friends and ever lasting relationships that have made my life that much better. Thanks to Google+, I’ve grown a vast audience on social networks that has allowed me to open doors that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of in the past, such as actively engaging with all of you.
Brad Ward (G+): Just Drive
I can’t really say there’s one Google product I can’t live without. Google has created an ecosystem that is so embedded into my every day life that it would be nigh impossible to get out. Just about everything I do is Google related in some way. My phone, my e-mail, social networking — it’s all Google related in some way. Picking one service is difficult as well because everything is so intertwined with each other. Regardless, I’d have to say Drive is a service that I could not live without, especially with the introduction of Google Keep. I do all of my writing in Drive, and despite having a Dropbox account, I store the majority of my files in Drive as well.
Considering that cloud is “the future”, I’d hate to let Drive go anyway, as I’d love to see how it evolves over the next few years with Chrome OS and so on.
Damn you Brad you stole mine :-P
There isn’t an individual Google product that can’t be replaced to an extent. Instead of Drive we could all be using Dropbox. Instead of Google+ we could all be using a combination of Facebook and Twitter. There are alternatives to YouTube. They’re not all adequate replacements, but if Google apps and products didn’t exist, we’d either find replacements or someone would release something to fix it. A perfect example is Feedly’s Normandy back end that will replacing Google Reader for many people.However, as my colleague Brad Ward pointed out, even if we did all fan out and use non-Google services, we wouldn’t have the integration. That’s what I would have the hardest time living without.
With a single account, I get cloud storage, social networking, online doc creation, chat (both text and video), a calender service, an email service, a video sharing service, a navigation service, a music and application service, and much more. With nothing more than two sign ins with this account, I can have all of that on my computer and my smartphone. This integration is something you cannot find with services that replace Google services. So it’s not necessarily any app that I could live without, but I would have a much harder time getting along without the “glue that holds it all together”, so to speak.
I use a lot of Google products, and yes, I was a big fan of Google Reader, which I’m very disappointed to see leaving (but it’s not my choice to make, is it?). I’ve already quit using it and switched to Feedly.
As far as Google products I can’t live without go, I’ll say Gmail would certainly be the first. I got very used to it and I use it on all of my devices, and as an inbox for some other accounts.
And I also use Google Search on a constant basis – I have tried other search engines, but they didn’t give me too many reasons to switch to them on a permanent basis.
I do use Google Calendar a lot, and Google Docs, too, but I could find alternatives to them, I guess, if needed.
For me, the discussion has little to do with what Google services I can’t live without, because I often don’t associate them as Google products. Gmail is just my email provider, and Google+ is my social network of choice. Chrome OS is my preferred operating system, meaning Chrome is my go-to browser. Google Now keeps me informed and in line, while Google Drive is how I work.
None of those are things I use as a conscious decision to “Go Google”. I use them because they suit me, provide what I need… and do so for free. I’m still awed now and again when I pull down the “More” menu from the black bar at the top of a web page, and see just how many services Google really offers. Could I live without these services? Sure, but I dislike fragmented space. I prefer having all of my products work seamlessly together, and Google does a pretty good job of making that happen.
Vote in our poll and join the discussion!