Jeff Verkoeyen, staff engineering lead for Google Design on Apple platforms, on Twitter now:
This year my team shifted the open source Material components libraries for iOS into maintenance mode…
The time we’re saving not building custom code is now invested in the long tail of UX details that really make products feel great on Apple platforms. To paraphrase Lucas Pope, we’re “swimming in a sea of minor things”, and I couldn’t be more excited about this new direction.
One year at the XOXO conference I was buttonholed (in the nicest way) by someone who worked on iOS apps at Google, who wanted to understand why I was so hostile about Google’s apps not respecting iOS conventions and instead forcing Android conventions on iOS users.
I felt that Google arrogantly believed that people were first and foremost users of Google’s platforms, and benefited from consistency across those platforms, when the truth was that people who use iPads and iPhones expect apps to behave like every other app on the platform.1
Over the years Google has unified its design language and moved its work forward in a lot of ways that are admirable. But as Verkoeyen’s Twitter thread points out, it also takes a lot of effort to reinvent your own design language when the platform provides its own for free. It’s easier to be a standard iOS app on iOS.
This is good news. It’s good for Google’s developers, who no longer have to build that custom code. And more importantly, it’s good for people who use Google’s apps on iOS, because with any luck they’ll be updated faster, work better, and feel more like proper iOS apps, not invaders from some other platform.