THE TECH PAGE:

Is brand loy­al­ity a good thing? Alex Ge­orge pon­ders.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents - BY A ALEXAN­DER GE­ORGE

PEO­PLE ASK ME THIS A LOT: Should I stick with one com­pany for all my tech­nol­ogy with the un­der­stand­ing that it works bet­ter to­gether, or can I mix and match? (The syn­tax varies, but the ques­tion is al­ways the same.) It’s a good ques­tion that smart peo­ple ask – in­clud­ing, re­cently, my col­league, Lara Sorokanich, whose desk here at Pop­u­lar Me­chan­ics HQ faces mine. Lara re­cently leaned over to ask me about this. Turns out there are op­tions for how to as­sem­ble your per­sonal mix of ser­vices and de­vices. We recorded the con­ver­sa­tion, pre­sented here for you:

LARA SOROKANICH: I have a Mac lap­top and an iphone, but I write in Google Docs and save all my photos to Google Photos. I like my Ap­ple stuff, but Google mar­kets its new hard­ware well. Should I go Google ev­ery­thing? ALEX GE­ORGE: Google would love that. Its dream is for you, for ev­ery­one, to buy a Pixel phone and a Chrome­book lap­top, and use them for Gmail, Google Photos, Chrome, Youtube, and Google Docs. And play your mu­sic on a Google Home speaker. Most of the ma­jor com­pa­nies think this way, and they en­cour­age us to do that by mak­ing it an­noy­ing to mix and match. For ex­am­ple, if you have an iphone con­nected to a car that has Ap­ple Carplay, you can say, ‘Hey Siri, play Bruce Spring­steen,’ and Ap­ple Mu­sic will play it. Which is cool. But un­til re­cently, you couldn’t use Google Maps on the car’s dis­play. It forced you to use Ap­ple Maps. So glad they changed that. LS: For me, photos are re­ally im­por­tant. I use Google Photos on my iphone all the time. Am I miss­ing out on any­thing that I’d get on a Google phone? AG: Not nec­es­sar­ily. Mi­crosoft and Google have been mak­ing soft­ware that works re­ally well on Ap­ple de­vices, like how you use Google Photos to free up storage on your iphone. The Out­look app for IOS is a good ex­am­ple. We have to use Mi­crosoft email for work, but if you have in­box rules or other cus­tomi­sa­tions, those func­tions are com­plex and can some­times trip up Ap­ple’s Mail app. Luck­ily, though, the Out­look app for IOS is ex­cel­lent. It syncs cleanly with our com­pany email servers, and is ev­ery bit as good on an iphone as on a Mi­crosoft lap­top. LS: I’ve been us­ing a $500 Asus Chrome­book for a few weeks. I like how I can be writ­ing in Google Docs, close it with­out sav­ing, then get on the bus and open Docs on my iphone and pick up where I left off. AG: Ex­actly. Like Mi­crosoft, Google knows how many peo­ple buy iphones and Macs. So it makes sure that Docs works with Ap­ple de­vices. LS: I see you still use an iphone, too? AG: I keep com­ing back to the iphone and Mac lap­tops be­cause Ap­ple de­vices are just in­tu­itive. And as in­con­ve­nient as a Ge­nius Bar visit can be, no other com­pany has that level of cus­tomer ser­vice. LS: So there’s re­ally no ad­van­tage to uni­fy­ing? AG: No. Not worth it. I love Google As­sis­tant, and on a Pixel 2 you can squeeze the bot­tom of the phone and in­stantly call up the As­sis­tant. On an iphone, you have to tap tap tap – but the ex­tra taps are noth­ing com­pared to how much more con­ve­nient even an older iphone is than deal­ing with An­droid. Some day, Google may de­cide to make their stuff work ter­ri­bly on IOS, or the next Pixel might be as great and half the price of an iphone. But un­til then, you have the free­dom to buy the de­vices you want, and bring along the apps you like.

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