With the recent announcement of the new iPhone 5, there will certainly be a huge number of new iPhone users in the very near future. For Google Apps users, the user experience on an iPhone is often found to be less than ideal. The ongoing battle for mobile device market share between these two giants has left users that want to leverage technology from both companies in between a rock and a hard place.
But with a little research, you can find iOS apps that help you access Google Apps in perfectly acceptable ways. Here are 2 options from 3rd-party developers, as well as 3 recently-launched apps from Google, that help you get the Google integrations and functionality you need.
1. Vtok – Since there’s no official Google Talk app for iOS, you’ll need to find a 3rd-party solution if you want to chat with friends through Google Talk on your iPhone. Vtok is one of the more popular chat apps in the App Store, and most of our employees with iPhones prefer Vtok.
Vtok also includes the convenient ability to video chat with buddies in your Google Talk list, allowing you to chat with more than just friends with iPhones (as you would with FaceTime).
2. Chrome – There’s been much written about how Chrome for iOS is slower than other mobile versions of Chrome, but honestly we don’t see much of a difference from the Safari browser. The ability to have your history, bookmarks, and recently opened tabs synced across all devices is an amazing experience.
3. Google+ – One of the flagship iOS apps from Google, the Google+ app offers a super-slick mobile experience for cruising through your Google+ feed. Not to mention the ability to join Hangouts from your iPhone, as well as Instant Upload for all of your photos. No need to transfer photos to your new iPhone 5 when you switch, they’ll all sync from your Google+ account.
4. Drive – One of my personal favorites (although I use Android), the Google Drive app lets you make edits to Google Docs as well as change sharing settings on any document in your Docs List. Forgot to share your weekly timesheet with your manager before you left the office for your hour-long commute home? Just open up your Google Drive app, find your timesheet and share it from there. Perfect for those situations where you can’t get to a computer but need to make small revisions or adjust sharing settings on a document.
5. Calendars – Google Calendar client – The lack of an official Google Calendar app for iOS is certainly less than ideal, but there are more than a few acceptable substitutes from 3rd-party iOS developers. This one isn’t cheap ($6.99), but is one of the highest rated calendar apps in the App Store. When you’re making changes to calendar events, you need to be 100% sure that those changes will translate to your Google Calendar and also to other attendees of your event. You can trust this app to get the job done everytime.
Bonus tip – if you’re a Google Apps administrator, be sure to enroll your employees’ devices in the Google Apps Mobile Device Management dashboard. While support for Android is more robust, you can still remote wipe company data from your employees’ iPhones, which is hugely valuable when a phone is lost or stolen.
Update - The Gmail app for iOs was recently upgraded and is a great improvement on the previous version. It is clear that the app is smoother and easier to use than the previous one. It also has some cool new features that didn’t exist in the old one. You can now sign into multiple Google accounts at once (up to 5.) Additionally, you can now RSVP to Google Calendar events within the Gmail app. While you still does not have a unified inbox, this upgrade definitely makes Gmail a more legitimate third-party app to contend with Apple’s native mail application.