Being a chronic latecomer, Google has fallen behind in a bunch of fields. And that has led to the company throwing multiple ideas onto the wall to see what sticks. However, unlike others who usually proceed with one of them, Google tends to forget taking off the rest and ends up implementing nearly all the ideas simultaneously. This ridiculous habit has resulted in Google adding roughly half a dozen ways to do a lot of Google things on Android. Alright, let me explain.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the mess that is Google’s messaging ecosystem. As of today, there are eight Google applications through which you can text or video call someone. This includes Allo, Hangouts, Android Messages, Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, Duo, Tez, and YouTube. Sure, you can argue Google Tez is primarily for peer-to-peer payments but there is a messaging feature built in. To be honest, there’s a chance I might have miscounted and there could be more. Google, thankfully, killed a couple in the last few months.
Next up, Google Search. I’ve till now found six different first-party (by Google) methods for searching on Google, on Android at least. There’s the Google widget on the home screen, the official app itself, Chrome, Assistant, Allo, and Gboard. If you consider the screen search (“What’s on my screen?”) option inside the Google Assistant, the number further rises to seven. Although the Google widget and app are technically the same things, hence let’s keep it at six.
Google also has four ways to set a reminder on Android. You can simply search for adding one, ask the Google Assistant, do it manually through the Google or the Calendar app. Lastly, Google News. On Android, the company has four different platforms through which you can read the news. We have the new Google News app itself, Google Chrome’s homepage, and the Google feed.
Yes, Google has a problem. In a few instances, though, the existence of more than one platforms can be justified like the various ways you can search on Google can be handy. However, the thing that doesn’t make sense is all of these behave differently and accentuate the company’s inability to unite its disparate applications. For example, executing a Google search on apps like Gboard or Allo don’t sync with your multitasking menu when you move to another app leaving you to do it again if you’re researching a topic instead of looking up answers.
Google has been finding it difficult lately to catch up in areas such as messaging and the news. The lack of a clear strategy has forced users to either decamp from the Google land entirely or constantly switch between various platforms. Take reminders, for instance. Even though a ton of Google products like Home and Assistant are mainly employed for setting reminders, there’s still no straightforward way for viewing or editing the reminders you’ve already configured. The option for that is buried inside the Google app which the majority of users are not even aware of.
Google is trying to simplify some of these inconsistencies in fits and starts. The search engine behemoth recently introduced a dedicated app for Google Tasks. However, especially with messaging, it will be awhile before Google manages to bring everything together under a single roof. And we’re not sure if the company even intends to do that. The last time I wrote about Google’s convoluted world of IM apps was way back in January last year and since then, it hasn’t progressed even a single iota. Same goes for news and reminders. Therefore, even after two years, it remains to be seen how Google will eventually string its way out of this disarray.