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Is Google Taking Over the iPhone?

I know, I know, it's crazy to say Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) is taking over the iPhone just as the 5c and 5s went on sale and iOS 7 made its wide debut. But it's hard to ignore Google's continuing expansion on Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) flagship device -- and it should make the iMaker just a bit worried.

Isn't 80% enough?!
Google's Android already claims about 80% market share of global smartphone operating systems, but over the past couple of months Google has made some big inroads on Apple's mobile operating system as well.

Google apps available on iOS. Screenshot of iPhone 5.

Gmail, Chrome, and Google Maps obviously come to mind when you think of Google on iOS, but the image above shows just how many options Google offers Apple's users. Some apps are more used than others, of course, and others are just for businesses, but it doesn't underscore Google's presence on Apple's operating system.

Mapping new territory
It's no secret Apple and Google have fought for mapping usage on iOS. According to research from Mobida, 80% of iOS users that use Apple Maps access it weekly, compared to 55% for Google Maps. While Google takes a lower percentage, it's still extremely high considering Apple Maps comes preloaded on iOS. But Google is interested in much more than getting iPhone users to their destinations.

Just last month, the Android maker launched Google Now for iOS, bringing real-time data and predictive information to the iPhone. Those features were previously reserved for Android users, but not any more. Now iOS users can view alerts telling them when packages have been delivered, what the traffic's like getting to work, suggestions for places you may want to eat, and more. Even with Siri's iOS 7 upgrades, it still doesn't offer iOS users predictive information like Google Now.

If that weren't enough, the company just brought Google Wallet to iOS this week. Wallet allows friends to send money to each other just by using their email address; stores credit, debit, and loyalty cards; and coupon offers. Wallet also comes with 24/7 fraud monitoring and purchase protection. While it's unclear how popular Wallet will be on iOS, Apple has yet to release such a comprehensive payment app and its Passbook app only stores loyalty cards and coupons. 

But Google Now and Wallet aren't as important as the mobile browser wars. Back in December 2012, Chrome had just 10% browser market share for active iOS users, but in July of this year that share had jumped to 17.4%, according to mobile market research from Onavo. Google pays traffic acquisition costs to Apple each year -- estimated to be around $1 billion in 2014 -- to keep its position as the main search engine in Safari, so it desperately wants iOS users to switch to Chrome.

Many of Google's services are free to use, while the company makes its money off of mobile advertising. Mobile research from eMarketer estimates that more than 48% of net U.S. mobile Internet ad revenue will go to Google this year -- and will hit more than 50% by 2015.

Apple saw Google's app popularity coming a while back and ditched pre-loaded apps like Google Maps and YouTube from its iOS. But that hasn't stopped Google from growing its services and features on the operating system. As long as Google can make money from iOS users -- and it certainly can -- it will continue making great apps for the system. While Apple customers are typically a loyal bunch, they're still likely to use apps with the best usability and most features. With Google making inroads in so many areas of iOS, Apple shouldn't test the limits of that loyalty.

There's a mobile storm coming
The tech world has been thrown into chaos as the biggest titans invade one another's turf. At stake is the future of a trillion-dollar revolution: mobile. To find out which of these giants is set to rule the next decade, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate, and we'll give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here now.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 8:00 PM, bobbydig wrote:

    The problem with Google is, they gave away their business to gain marketshare. Instead of Google making money, they are giving it away. Look at Dell, cheap products, marketshare, now they are dead. Look at Microsoft, marketshare got them no where. So for journalist who preach marketshare, have absolutely no idea how to run a company. Bad, bad, advise.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 9:59 PM, H3D wrote:

    The bigger problem is that nobody trusts Google any more.

    When Google stated in open court that Gmail users should expect that Google analyses the content of their mail and uses it for the benefit of whoever pays them the most, Google planted a huge nail in one corner of their coffin.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 6:07 AM, H3D wrote:

    When the iPhone launched

    - Google was the built in search engine

    - Google was the built in mapping engine


    - Yahoo is the default search engine

    - Apple is the default mapping engine

    Google taking over?

    Google is one amazing PR machine, and it's specialty is publicising and white washing itself.

    But there are limits on what is credible....

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 10:24 AM, vantan wrote:

    If you have IOS and non IOS devices, Google apps can provide a good data bridge between them. For example, some IOS apps will pull in webpages that contain flash video that do not display on an IOS device. You can however cut and paste the url from the Safari browser or even the in app browser sometimes to Chrome on IOS which is then available on the Chrome browser in your pc which can display the flash video. This also gets handy even for documents that are just too large for the IOS device you happen to have vs the pc or even Android device. Also handy for photo exchange.

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