The web is now social, local and mobile (SoLoMo) and as such, any company that controls large parts of this new dynamic also controls access to unparalleled wealth and influence.
Apple first began its campaign to be king of the world with the launch of the iMac, then the iPod and then came the big one; in 2007 it launched the iPhone. Since that time, Apple has steadily been forming alliances and buying up companies that will allow it to bring the virtual world and the real world together for owners of the iPhone.
While Google owns Motorola and the Android platform, and it enjoys over 900,000 Android activations a day, it still lags behind Apple and for three important reasons.
Apple has integrated Facebook and Twitter into its iPhone operating system.
Yes, Google has Google+ but, let’s face it, most people either use Facebook or Twitter – and the iPhone, with iOS6, is now the unrivalled social smartphone.
Local. Apple has thrown out Google Maps for iOS6 and has forged a very good relationship with TomTom to provide iPhone and iPad users with awesome 3D Maps and navigation services. With iOS 6, people will also be able to use Siri to get spoken turn-by-turn directions, book a restaurant, get the latest weather, get recommendations etc. and post status updates to Facebook (FB) and Twitter.
Google has Google+ Local and also bought local review start-up Zagat for $150 million last year but, the trouble is, people have to use Google+ before Google+ Local becomes useful.
More people use Facebook and Twitter and Apple has meshed the social world with its own phone.
The iPhone is close to providing users with an unrivalled, consistent experience. A new feature of iOS6 is Passbook which is able to store tickets, receipts and loyalty cards in a single app.
With iOS6 you can now technically ask Siri to find out if there’s a gig nearby if you find yourself at a lose end in town one night. You can then use iTunes (which has your credit card details) to buy tickets and pretty soon venues will have NFC capabilities so you can use your phone to redeem tickets.
Google has Google Wallet but its roll out in the US has been fraught with problems.
So what’s the story?
The story is simple: unless Google can do something remarkable and become better at combining all its apps and services into an easy-to-use, seamless device, the iPhone (and Apple) will continue to lead in the brave new world of SoLoMo.
Google’s purchase of Motorola suggests the search giant may yet have something up its sleeve. A Google phone perhaps, to challenge the iPhone? Or maybe it should just become really good friends with Samsung. If Apple can make up and become friends with Facebook, Google should really try to kiss up to Samsung and create something special – The Galaxy G?
Whatever happens, the digital giants will continue to innovate and as the battle intensifies, the winners will be us – the people who rely so heavily on the fruits of the digital economy.