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Five new ways Google is taking on Apple

Dan Moren | June 27, 2014
At its I/O developer conference, Google announced a slew of new products and technologies. But these five are targeted most directly at Apple.

Perhaps the smartest thing about Android TV is that Google is treating it as essentially a different screen-size experience of the Android platform, meaning that developers should be able to use the same tools to write apps for phones, tablets, and TVs—and they can distribute those TV apps, including games, on the Google Play store, which has its own Android TV interface. Third-party development is something that many have wanted to see on the Apple TV for some time, but has yet to arrive.

But wait, what's all that mean for Google's current streaming dongle, the Chromecast? Fear not, the Chromecast is still around! It's even got a nifty new feature allowing you to stream your Android phone's display, in real time, to your Chromecast. (Sound familiar?) They just need a catchy name--too bad "Google Play" is already taken.

Android Auto vs. CarPlay
From the living room to your commute: Apple may have dropped a couple of cars into Moscone for WWDC, but Google decided to one-up that by bringing one--or, well, part of one--up on stage to demo its new Android Auto platform.

Like Apple's CarPlay, Android Auto offshores the heavy lifting of common car tasks like music, messaging, and navigation to your smartphone. You can interact via touchscreen, steering wheel controls, knobs and dials, or voice--just like CarPlay. And, of course, Google's partnered with several automakers, who will begin shipping Android Auto-compatible units later this year--(say it with me now) just like CarPlay.

Presumably, this means that compatibility with our mobile-phone platform of choice will someday be one of the features we'll look for when we shop for a car. (Realistically, automakers will likely embrace all comers to remove that particular barrier to purchase.)

Google Fit vs. Health Kit
So once tech companies have taken over your TV and your car, what's left? How about your immortal soul? Well, they may not have figured out to harness that (yet), but in the meantime they're coming for your body.

Just as Apple announced its Health Kit system at WWDC, Google's rolling out Google Fit, an SDK that provides a standard for fitness apps, letting them exchange information with each other (with your permission, of course). From what we saw, it doesn't look as ambitious as Health Kit, which not only features Apple's own Health app, but also aims to let others, including medical professionals, in on the fun. (Google made no mention of providing its own app.)

Really, though, the more standards, the merrier. Right?

Android Wear vs. the iWatch
Yes, yes, we know: Even after all this time, the iWatch is still a unicorn-powered figment of our imaginations. But the evidence that Apple's working on somethinghas been mounting, and Google is clearly aiming to steal any thunder Apple might potentially have.


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