‘Behind Enemy Lines,’ iOS Developer Recounts His Experience Developing iOS Apps at Google

Although Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs were once captured in an iconic photo congenially sipping coffee together in Silicon Valley, Jobs famously took serious umbrage that Google dared to invade the smartphone market with its Android OS. The Android and iOS platforms have been duking it out ever since.

Thus, the idea of an iOS developer working for none other than Google may seem a bit odd, but that’s precisely what a fellow named Chris Hulbert (who, granted, considers himself a freelancer) did at Google Sydney in Australia.

Google Sydney
Some Googlers at the Sydney, Australia office

Hulbert spent time at Google working on the iOS version of the Google Maps Coordinate app and recounted some of his experiences in a blog post. Many of Hulbert’s rememberings are only germane to coders and developers, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Hulbert said that there were no iPhones on that campus, save for the ones developers needed to use in the lab; it was a total Nexus fest. Further, he noted that there was definitely some anti-iOS sentiment around the office, with associated teasing.

The most telling bit concerns Apple’s approach to app development over Google’s; primarily, Apple works from concept to design to code. “Someone in a suit dreams up their app, tells the UX guy who comes up with wireframes (aka scribbles on paper of each screen), then the designers mock up each screen exactly how they want it to look”, he said in the post. “And it is finally passed to us developers to make the magic happen as close as possible to the designs.”

Google, on the other hand, embraces a relatively slow-paced code development process built to minimize mistakes; design takes a back seat.

Whichever camp you’re in, it’s always intriguing to hear about what it’s like behind enemy lines.