Google just unveiled a tweak to is Gmail iPhone app that gives it more control over the iPhone.
Links opened in Gmail now send you directly to Chrome, assuming you’ve installed Chrome. Map links directly open in Google Maps, also assuming you’ve installed Google Maps.
This is a major change to the standard operation of the iPhone.
Apple doesn’t let a user pick “default” applications in the iPhone. Therefore, all links in Apple’s email send the user to Safari, even if the user prefers Chrome.
With this hack, Google is creating its own alternative to “default.”
By creating a network within Gmail that links Google’s other apps, it’s allowing users to bypass Apple’s native applications entirely.
Over time, Google could either acquire, or build more applications, linking them together, thus totally taking over the iPhone.
Here’s a look at what’s new with the Gmail app.
Here’s the old style. Note that you have this embedded look at the browser, but you’re still in the Gmail app.
And here’s the new style. You’re thrown right into Google Chrome, with the option to jump back to Gmail.