Why Google apps aren’t coming to Windows Phone any time soon

Windows Phone Google Apps

Microsoft and Google have an interesting relationship. Both companies need each other to a certain extent, but both are desperately trying to end that reliance. Google has created Docs to replace Office, Microsoft has created Bing to replace Google Search, etc. Still, they need each other. Chrome primarily runs on Windows, and Microsoft needs Google apps to entice new users to their platforms.

The platform that is struggling the most without Google apps is obviously Windows Phone. There is one official Google app in the Windows Phone Store, and it was updated a little under two years ago. There are certainly options available if you use Google apps, but none of them are official, and that’s what’s wrong. Seeing “Google Inc.” as a developer name shows a certain amount of respect. That respect is present in the Apple App Store, but not here.

Why doesn’t Google have respect for Windows Phone? There are a couple of reasons: market share and competition. Market share is the most obvious reason for why anything is missing from Windows Phone. The latest numbers put Windows Phone at 3.7% worldwide market share, meanwhile Google’s own Android is at around 80%. Market share is obviously playing a role in Google’s decisions, but it’s not the only thing that matters.

Windows Phone is not a very Google-friendly OS

Competition is the other factor in all of this. Google is competing with Apple and Microsoft in the mobile landscape (sure, Blackberry, you can play too). There was a time when Google didn’t have many apps in the Apple App Store, but when the iPhone became so popular they realized they needed to be there. Above all else, the one thing Google needs is people using their services. Market share obviously plays a role in this, but not so much for Microsoft.

The iPhone launched with Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search, and a pretty decent Mail app. iOS always has been a Google-friendly OS. Windows Phone, on the other hand, has none of these things. Bing Maps, Bing Search, SkyDrive, and no ability to make decent 3rd-party browsers makes Windows Phone not very Google-friendly. Even if Google would release a few apps like YouTube and Hangouts they wouldn’t be getting much back in return because users would still be using Bing Search and IE.

Google also knows that there are plenty of people out there just dying to give Windows Phone a try, but they can’t because certain apps aren’t available. If YouTube, Hangouts, Google Docs, and all of these apps were suddenly available there would be nothing stopping a devout Google user from switching. That’s why Windows Phone users are much more dangerous to Google. People want to use Windows Phone, but Google is holding them back.

Windows Phone users are much more dangerous to Google

The relationship Google has with Apple is much less threatening. Google isn’t really worried about people ditching Drive for iCloud, or, well, anything really. Apple doesn’t offer many services that conflict with Google. Microsoft has Bing Search, SkyDrive, Office, Outlook, Skype, etc. Losing a user to Windows Phone could mean potentially losing a lot more.

What needs to happen in order for Google to respect Windows Phone? The easy answer is a lot more market share. There is just too much for Google to lose with Windows Phone. It will take a lot for them to feel like they have to create apps for Microsoft platforms. The biggest weapon we have is the ability to switch away from Google services. Unless things change in a big way we’ll have Google apps when pigs fly.


  • Lance Stern

    You do your start screen like I do mine: medium tiles with 4 to the side, then put a medium to the opposite side. I think it’s awesome.
    What calendar app are you using too? And do you use a google talk client app?

  • Lance Stern

    That’s also an interesting statement you make. Being a windows phone fan, I wish I could agree that there are people dying to try Windows phones but I don’t know if it’s that dramatic.
    I don’t know if lacking GOOGLE apps keeps people from switching, Microsoft services are equal to (and in many respects better) in my opinion. But it’s interesting that yes Microsoft has services that directly compete against google, while Apple does not.

  • http://winsource.com/ Joe Fedewa

    Those are fake Google apps on the Start screen. I just use the stock calendar app and IM+.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    In a way they are keeping their users. The main reason why I don’t go full Windows Phone is the lack of Google apps.

  • Lance Stern

    What google apps are they?

  • Lance Stern

    I’ve been trying to use IM+ for a while but google keeps blocking it thinking a fake account is trying to login. How did you work around that?

  • http://winsource.com/ Joe Fedewa

    I didn’t have to work around anything. I just logged in and it worked. I’m not sure why you’re having trouble.

  • http://shiz.us/ labanex

    In my daily use, I can live without Google services on my phone as long as I can get them on my computer. So I do not mind not having Google apps on a device, in my opinion, superior. Google Maps is great because it is matured and I can find places I need a little better than Bing/Nokia Maps, however the maps on the WP is darn good. Google Drive, I do not use. SkyDrive does the job for me. Google Apps, well, I just need my mail, calendar, and contacts to sync up for my work Email. I wish they used Office 365, but they do not. So I am stuck with the companies choice for Google Apps. YouTube, I could use that and cannot wait until Microsoft and Google come up with a good running YouTube app. In the meantime, the YouTube mobile is okay. Bing Search is as good as Google Search. Remember, this is my opinion. I love my Windows Phone. It just feels right to me. Android is great and the new iOS seems awesome, Windows Phone just feels right for me.

  • JSYOUNG571

    “Microsoft has Bing Search, SkyDrive, Office, Outlook, Skype, etc. Losing a user to Windows Phone could mean potentially losing a lot more.”

    You have got to be kidding me. The only threat I see out of this list Joe, is Office. While I agree that Microsoft does have some good services, they come up short in competition with some of Google services. Bing is a major fail relying on Nokia for Maps and turn by turn navigation. Skype is still Skype with just Microsoft imprinted on it with horrible integration when it comes to Windows Phone. Outlook is horrible on synchronization between Windows Phone and the actual desktop version. Please do not forget how horrible Xbox music is. Even current Windows Phone 8 users hate Xbox music. They are wishing Microsoft would return it back to Zune.

    It is time for Microsoft to quit blaming Google, Nokia and others for there short comings, or making presumptions that Google feels Microsoft is a threat with Windows Phone. How can Microsoft be a threat when they continuously shoot themselves in the foot with keeping their customers alienated for long periods of time.

  • Lance Stern

    Yea i was going to say Microsoft services match and exceed googles, except maps and it’s not too far off there either

  • Lance Stern

    Well no, skype is a major threat as one of the most popular VOIP services out there..

    Bing gets consistent, if not better results (which is subjective).

    What synchronization problems are there with Outlook? Mine works fine.

    And SkyDrive is A+ quality stuff.

  • Sinamit

    Bing maps now comes with Nokia maps…
    Horrible integration.. your kidding right?? It has one of the best in-built mail & FB app. And can run multiple mail viz hotmail, outlook & live, on the phone & desktop (That too ad free). I don’t think you have used it

  • http://winsource.com/ Joe Fedewa

    What? The Microsoft basher thinks Google services are better? No way!

  • bburke33609

    I think you aren’t looking at how the services tie into the device. Especially skydrive and it’s integration with a windows 8 machine. I’m imagining there are tons of Skype users either way but the bundling of services is pretty nice on WP as it is on the other devices. Plus they play well with the other ecosystems. MS isn’t making power user devices at this point in WP. When you look at Xbox Music it is pretty generalized music service. When you look at the app itself and the experience in general it is selling streaming and pushing to getting a music pass. If that isn’t what you want then you aren’t going to fall in love with the experience. They are selling a lot of lowend devices and people are happy at the lowend. That is what’s working and they are going to focus on enabling phones to sell. Truthfully everyone faults MS for the things it does but never realizes that MS’ strategy is focused on the long term. It’s not really the best thing for consumers in the short term but they are a business and will do what they need to do to be competitive long term.

  • Lazlo13

    microsoft is either number 1 or 2 in almost everything. Google is staying away because MS has a much better plan for 10 years. Android can be forked by anyone … and Samsung will do that soon.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    This is true, but I am very well invested in Google’s services. All my info and services are set with google. It’s a little hard to break away. I use Chrome and its syncing features all the time. I also sync contacts with Google (but that can be set up with WinPhone), i use google now and google maps for everything. For navigation, i can’t find anything better than google maps. I also use Google Voice all the time. And the list goes on.

  • http://www.colossaldamage.com/ SuperMarino

    In my daily life I have a corporate gmail account and my personal e-mail is also through google. Both of my calendars are synced, and I use google drive for storing docs that I need access to. With my job being only 30% behind my desk, I need a high level of connectivity to everything in my business easily accessible from my phone. Having Google Now pop up with a warning to leave in 20 minutes because of traffic in order to get to an appointment I have in GMail and my Calendar on time, and then drop me into Google Maps with navigation is a very fine feature. If I wasn’t so grounded in the Google ecosystem I’d be more wiling to use a Windows Phone, hell, I run Windows 8 on my personal computers and I love it. If Google supported it, I might switch, but by them doing nothing I’m sticking to Android.

  • Lou_Sasshole

    I think it’s safe to say that Skype is the absolute most popular VOIP service out there. I agree with SkyDrive it’s A++. Microsoft is great and the MS haters are definitely annoying.

  • Jared

    A real google voice application would be fantastic. I have Sprint so the integration makes up for it.

  • http://shiz.us/ labanex

    I agree. I use Google Chrome because of the synced passwords, favorites, and more between three computers. Unfortunately, that is not the case with IE on Windows Phone. I never use IE on my computers, so between Firefox and Chrome, that is all I use. IE, being the only browser that really works on WP8 is the browser I use. Even though I am a big time Microsoft fan (enterprise and consumer), I do use a lot of Google services (enterprise and consumer).

  • phoneguy

    Here maps makes google maps look like a kids coloring book. What good is GPS is you can’t go offline. Here pulls mapping info from navtech (same as Garmin,and Magellan). Here drive and here maps simply can’t be beat

  • Abhinav

    Microsoft….go and buy Google that will be useful..so that there’ll be no competition. For u…

  • Daniel

    +1 I don’t Think JSYOUNG571 have used it,

    It’s hase one of the best integration on the market , it work seamless, Desktop, Laptop, Surface Pro , use skydrive, office 365, have multiple email accounts one on Live, my own domain Exchange, and G-mail no problem at all, it just works and syncks perfect.

    Bing/Nokia Maps is one of the best maps and navigation on the market even competes with expensive gps navigator if for example you use an Nokia Lumia 800 / 920 / 925 and then you can download all maps for free with regular updates and navigate offline without problems.

  • ebba

    This f****** windows crap phone does allow, candy crush, Netflix, picsart, music ocean, bejeweled, or anything AT ALL THAT the MARVELOUS DROID DOES. Windows phone system “sucks”.

  • ebba

    This f****** windows crap phone does NOT allow, candy crush, Netflix, picsart, music ocean, bejeweled, or anything AT ALL THAT the MARVELOUS DROID DOES. Windows phone system “sucks”.

  • Console

    I am one of these people not swithing due to missing chrome / maps / hangouts etc..

  • http://www.iSaumya.com/ Saumya Majumder

    Recently I have sold my Motorola Atrix 2 Android phone and purchasing Nokia Lumia. I do know that I’m gonna miss those apps, but still after using Android for more than 3 years, I am glad to say that Windows OS is much better and stable than android. Android is only for App freeky guys. Waiting for my new Windows Phone :)

  • MmeZeeZee

    As an individual trying out a Windows phone, I can tell you that it is the only reason I will not in fact be buying this phone. Google voice is free. Skype costs a monthly fee. I could go on and on but let me just put it this way: if I buy an iPhone from the Apple store, I can use VoIP to make and receive calls without a plan. With this Windows phone, I’m stuck. I usually use Google apps every day! I use Dropbox every day.

    I am very frustrated as I feel the phone is great and I love Nokia and many of my friends work for Microsoft, but I just can’t have a phone that I can’t access work and VoIP on. That’s nuts. What will I do when traveling?

    Also, no offense, but Bing just sucks. Yahoo! tells me that the Boeing 777x is trending. I click on that to see why, and I get Boeing’s homepage, not news or hot websites that would explain this.

    I had a Mac laptop and a Nokia phone for as long as I have been working. That’s how I roll (still no smartphone–it’s been a tough few years with a startup). But this Google thing is really making me think I need an iPhone.

    I cannot be the only one in this situation. I’m in the Northwest and there’s a lot of Microsoft loyalty here, but what are we supposed to do? Why get dumb smartphone, and yes, it feels dumb.

  • MmeZeeZee

    Skype is very popular and was around long before Google voice. I think it is a real threat to Google voice as it is easier to use if you pay for the incoming call service. Hangouts is just an imitation of Skype–might be good but as a longtime Skype user and Mac-owner, I have to say that nothing really compares to it. It’s used around the world and is very convenient.

  • Lance Stern

    You use DropBox for what? Can it not be done with SkyDrive?
    Can you get a VoIP app? What Google Apps do you use (voice)? It can’t be done with Office Web Apps? With Nokia maps?
    Bing gives almost exact results every time as Google. And you get free stuff for using it. I actually use it to fund my Skype minutes.
    But you prove me wrong.

  • MmeZeeZee

    Use Dropbox for what? I use it for work. Everyone uses Dropbox. My company. Everyone’s company. The university with which I was affiliated. The organizations with which my company works. It’s a universal application used globally.

    And I’m sorry but Bing does not give the same results as Google.

    I need to be able to open and forward documents in the same way as everyone else. I’m not trying to be special… I just don’t need a smart phone if it’s not useful, you know? I’m not working only for myself. I work in networks with clients, etc.

  • Lance Stern

    I can’t argue with DropBox, although I thought it was a security issue for companies (any cloud service is with mine). Do you use DropBox for personal reasons? If so, have you tried it with SkyDrive?
    I can argue about Bing… have you done the Bingiton challenge?

  • MmeZeeZee

    We don’t do everything on DropBox, but for things that aren’t highly confidential we do. In my sector there is precious little data that is confidential (public/charity) so though we have to change names before storing huge databases on there, it’s really not an issue. Want to know how charities are counting every penny? Our tight cash-flow that would set off alarms if you so much transferred enough money to buy a Windows phone? Go ahead, hackers. ;~)

    Regarding Bing, I have searched three things and gave up. One was trending news about the Boeing 777 (Yahoo! popup told me this was trending) and I got Boeing’s homepage. I wanted the trending news not Boeing’s official site. Google got me straight to the article that was relevant to my location: the machinist’s union was working on an agreement to build it here. If Microsoft and Yahoo! knew it was trending in my area, why couldn’t they send me to the trending articles?

    The other search was for factual information for my kids. Google got me the Wikipedia article and another informational site. Bing got me an obscure European company with that mascot. (I forget the animal, will have to ask my daughter.) The last was for a local eatery which should have come up first but was pages down, though I entered the name, the type of restaurant, etc. The point is… no, it’s not Google, and they really do search well. That’s okay–I have Google search on the Windows phone now.

    I am getting used to the phone, and I do love Nokia and don’t mind Windows. But I just think that the point of compatibility cannot be underestimated. It is a serious issue for us.

    I don’t want to spend all my money in one place. I like the idea of spreading my stuff around Windows, Mac, and Google. I like having skills in all three ecosystems. But I can’t do that to the point of spending all my time finding work-arounds, you know?

  • Gabriel Marinescu

    Wow…you really need a slap down for this comment. I don’t know (or care) if you’re paid by someone for this sort of comment but you really need to get a life. First of all, taking into consideration the apps you listed above, you are a snob; or a kid; or just plain idiot. When you make such a comment, do realize you’re not fooling anyone. You haven’t tried Windows phone to be able to post a comment about it. As goes for games, the WP ones are a hell of a lot better than android’d (granted, there are not that many) and by the same token I could say Android’s don’t have Halo. The GPS turn by turn navigation from WP (Nokia) is unmatched by anything on any OS, and is free (with free offline maps). And the FB/twitter integration is second to none. Office and Skydrive cannot be reached by Google not now and not in a million years. I get it, you want your smartphone just for playing games. Please leave the rest of us, who actually use a smartphone for productivity, alone.

  • shywiz

    The problem with Microsoft is that they are trying to dominate everything on their own which is just not feasible. I recently bought myself a Dell venue 8 pro to try out the windows 8 tablet experience. The hardware is great but as we all know, the hardware is only as good as the software it supports. Yes, the full desktop experience is attractive but it would be great to have mainstay apps from Google performing on par with Microsoft’s metro IE and Bing Maps apps to name a few. I still have high hopes though for this platform going forward.

  • Keegan Choffat

    At this point, I really only care about function. Google maps is decent, but I played around with Nokia HERE and it was really nice! And there is a Microsoft frontend to Facebook, instagram is in beta, and I guess Gmail and Google Calendar can sync and push. So maybe when my contract expires.

  • pat

    so far all he said is true, I had both types and android is far superior to the windows phone. I also work at a company that sells both, Customers usually refund the Nokia, if they can’t refund it, they just buy a new android instead.

  • Gabriel Marinescu

    Hey, everybody and anybody is entitled to refund their phone or not like it, but stating it’s “fucking crap” cause it doesn’t have some kid’s games is just idiotic. I do get why some people don’t like it but the reasoning that i heard so far comes from things like habit of using Android or just buying what people around you have. I also had both and I’m personally not budging away from WP one bit. And I get reminded why every time I pick-up one of my friend’s phone.

  • Gabriel Marinescu

    Oh, and Android is not “marvelous”, not even by a long shot. The smartphone market is way too young and full of experiments for any of them to be marvelous.

  • http://byazrov.ru/ Russian Photographer

    Windows Phone is crap. I suffered through two phones and two versions of WP and now my mother for God knows what reason bought herself a windows phone Nokia and it’s pain to videochat with her. It’s a PAIN. Never buy Windows Phone if you want to stay mentally healthy. This terrible OS will drive you nuts.

  • themishmosh

    Without PureView, half of Windows phone users would be on iOS or Android. True story.

  • Madhur B

    As far as I know some of the Google apps still work on Windows platform. Microsoft windows is still the most popular (and widely used choice) for personal computer (desktops and laptop), so Google simply can’t ignore the market and the users. So they have offered apps for them. But yes for android it is a different story.

  • Madhur B

    How do you compare this to Facetime ?

  • Jan

    I know I’m 3 months late, but I have to say this (I’ve used and still use android): chrome on android sucks. There, I said it, on the PC it may be a half decent browser, but on android its slow, bloated and displays websites funny. Frankly no mobile browser comes even close to any desktop one. However, I find IE on WP a perfectly fine browser, its fast, it has tabs and favorites, and its perfectly comparable to android browser/chrome.
    Here maps are awesome, you can download any map for free for offline viewing, unlike gmaps that only ley you cache a small area (useless for long trips)
    hangouts is a bummer, I’ve never used it past the talk part, and I hate that hangouts replaced talk. 24MB instead of 1 for a chat app is ridiculous. There are (better) alternatives like whatsapp, Skype etc.
    my point is, don’t get so tied to one service provider. I know moving platforms is hard, but once you’re through with it, you may like it. I was skeptical over same issues, but I got a Lumia instead of some new android phone, and i don’t regret it at all. I did find out that SkyDrive integration with WP8 and W8.1 is far better than any cloud storage, and even its web interface is very good, and it even includes web office for simple editing. I never liked google drive/docs web interface and google+ is just stupid.

  • Jan

    You got me on this one. I moved to WP because of amazing camera on 925, and the free offline voice navigation was also on top of the list. Other then that, WP is fast and mostly stable OS, so far more stable than android, and I’ve had both. Living outside US, Canada and UK, most services are not available, like play music, movies, voice, books, magazines… The first year on the platform I couldn’t even buy apps and online voice navigation came in 3rd year. Then again, Xbox music is not supported in my country, Bing places or whatever it is also doesn’t work. But at least I get a fast phone with web, emails, apps, GPS and a great camera, and that’s all I’m after really.

  • Jan

    Skype video chat works very well on WP, I don’t know what you’ve been doing. I do know that switching to WP means to me that I will be able to make a phone call and send a text whenever I want, and the phone won’t randomly freeze for 2 minutes like my previous androids did.

  • MmeZeeZee

    More ubiquitous. The problem is that in communications (unlike word processing, for example), what people need is compatibility. It’s not even a question of priorities. A ToIP system that is the #1 best in the world at everything, but which only 10 people use, would not be downloaded even if it were free. Nobody needs the #1 best in the world ToIP system. They need what the person they want to call has.

  • tetriminos

    ah yes. microsoft own skype, so you won’t find skype on a chromebook

  • BNear

    I like my Windows phone, I switched from a broken down 10 year old BB to a Windows 8 Nokia Lumia. I’m a Windows guy!! I have zero interest in Android or Apple but I’d have to say at this point that we are a minority and Windows will never grow if we see Blackberry allow native Android app installation to their devices, that said, I can even see Apple taking a huge hit too. I doubt there’s many people jumping at the chance to trade in their iPhone or Android for a windows phone and unless Microsoft can manage to explode its app offerings, people just won’t bother.

  • Danmansonman

    OneDrive does the same if no more than Dropbox. The web interface is cleaner, and it has Office built into it. You can also direct all your user folders in Windows to be “in” the OneDrive, so you don’t have to keep manually copying files into the dropbox, they’re just already there with OneDrive, and you just use the same Documents, Pictures folders etc like normal but they’ll all be backed up seamlessly. Do this for all your devices, and you have al your files available on all your devices. You can share them anywhere to anyone.

  • Danmansonman

    Everything you just explained, I enjoy on Windows phone. Like appointment reminders, google email/calendar (one calendar can show unlimited linked calendars merged together also), GPS Navigation, cloud access to my files from any device. Traffic services don’t really apply to me, because we live in a small country where there isn’t really digital traffic monitoring going on anyway,

  • Danmansonman

    Typically the haters have usually never used a fully setup Windows Phone to see exactly what great things you can do with them. There is absolutely nothing I long for on my Lumia 920, I use it heavily for personal and business use. Communications, appointments, onedrive, hubs, they all work great and keep things ticking over. The features coming in 8.1 will be great, I just didn’t need them anyway.

  • Danmansonman

    Exactly, same here. But a lot of the WP haters are like Christians, they won’t believe it even if you showed them yourself, they will just believe what they believe for no reason other than it’s what they want to believe regardless of the facts.

  • Danmansonman

    If that’s all the crap you NEED in a phone, then a phone is not what you need. Those are retarded reasons to decide on a phone. There are many things android/ios cannot do, and vice versa. Can’t please everybody.

  • Danmansonman

    Android is clunky. Windows Phone is smooth and beautiful. App-count can go suck my d**k, I couldn’t care less about all your farty little game requirements for your phone, it’s about 1% important.

  • Danmansonman

    How on earth did you fail to have videochat with Windows Phone? It works. Everything works well on WP. I have owned 5 WP’s. Crap mobile/broadband service would affect your video chat, but that’s not the phones fault. Other than that, there’s no reason it should fail to work other than a physically faulty phone. I think you’re a troll tbh.

  • MmeZeeZee

    There seems to be a huge misunderstanding here.

    I don’t use backup and communication devices for myself, nor am I the CEO of a huge company in which I can tell thousands of employees switch over. Like millions of users, I am in a very small company and we share information and communicate with at least five different other organizations every week. We aren’t even that busy. We all need the same thing. We don’t want 5 accounts for document sharing. We all want the same.

    And in my sector, everyone has Dropbox.

    I’m not going to sell Microsoft’s products for it. I need to use what works with the majority of my partners.

  • Roger J. Stevens

    For mobile spreadsheets, I recommend using Collate Box. A new player but I do like using it as an alternative to google docs

  • Leonardo Monday

    Google being a ass#$#$le again. There are people who pay for google apps and this is really disrespectful from google part, at least they should make a WP App for gmail.