Google doesn’t copy Apple, nope these don’t look the same at all

Ariel Isaac shared these images today on Twitter. The first is a picture of Apple’s iTunes album layout. The second is Google’s redesigned image search.

These are totally different designs. Totally.

  • FromMyCube

    And the iOS notification center and Android notification center are two totally different designs, it goes both ways.

    • yo

      Hard to deny that there are similarities, but that’s it. Google’s image search is a blatant rip, down to the exact same layout.

    • Raven Yu

      Seriously this is the only argument android fanboys ever have. It’s lame. It doesn’t even begin to compare to the amount of things google and android device manufacturers copied.

      • lomifeh

        Yes the NC they got from a jail breaker they hired. They are similar but this was not Apple’s original design to begin with.

        • Raven Yu

          I didn’t say apple didn’t copy the notification center.

          • lomifeh

            Double negatives are fun. Are you saying Apple did or did not copy?

      • Jason Ip

        so it’s ok for Apple to copy but not ok for Google to copy? got it, Apple logic, reality distortion

        • Herding_sheep

          The point he is trying to make is that there’s a difference between one instance of Apple copying their IDEA (not the design), and Googles endless copying of Apple UI DESIGN. I can’t even begin to count the amount of designs Google has copied from Apple, while Apples instances are much fewer, and even then when Apple copies an idea they usually still make their own distinctive design on top of the foundation of the idea.

          All Apple did was take the swipe down gesture from Android. The implementation and design of Notification Center in iOS was completely different from Android and distinctly an Apple styled design. Not to mention the amount of granular control you have in settings on how to organize notifications in NC, or how many appear for each app, or which apps can appear in NC, whether you want a notification to display a banner or an alert. That amount of control was completely absent in Androids implementation. The only similarity was the gesture to pull down a panel containing notifications.

          Googles image search on the other hand, LOOKS and functions exactly like iTunes album view or iOS folders, the “screen split” animation and everything.

      • What has Apple copied from Android…. Voice typing, quick responses, wireless syncing, tabbed browsing, app opening from the lock screen, over the air updates, camera access on the lock screen…

        Google Android aside…. the Siri UI, pinch-to-zoom, slide-to-unlock, the iPad name, the iPod, commercials for the iPod, the iMac AIO concept, that Swiss clock, Intel’s ultrabook (which preceded the Macbook Air), Apple’s designs (which copy Braun)…. and I could name a brick ton more examples.

        Just go to, where a lot of them are listed. If you think that is the only argument in response to how much Google has allegedly “copied” from iOS in Android, then you are absolutely dead wrong. Apple has copied in nearly everything they have “created”.

        • cyabud

          The MacBook Air came out in 2008. Intel’s Ultrabook initiative kicked off in 2011.

          • Intel started working on the same “ultrabooks” all the way back in 2007. The 2011 initiative was jut a way to make their 2007 idea a broader reality. The fact of the Macbook Air being in competition at the time was merely a coincidence. No one has any grounds to call ultrabooks a copy of the Air, because the Air copied the very first ultrabook concept by Intel.

          • cyabud

            If Apple released the MBA in January 2008, when do you suppose they started working on it? At a guess I’d say at least a couple of years prior given that it was their first device to sport a unibody enclosure. And yet you make it sound like Apple heard Intel talk about their ultrabook concept and scrambled to cobble something together in the space of just a few months. Come on dude..

          • The point is that ultrabooks are not willful copies of the Air, and anyone claiming that is wrong. They are forward copies of earlier concepts by Intel.

          • cyabud

            Indeed, it is quite possible that both were created entirely independently. But if you’re so sure Intel didn’t copy Apple, what makes you so sure that Apple copied Intel?

        • lomifeh

          tabbed browsing from android? Really? Tabbed browsing first appeared back in 1994. The iOS implementation mimics safari.

          Voice typing? OS X had this from day one. Again predates android. OTA updates were actually possible with iOS for apps through the enterprise program going back to iOS 2.0 iirc. This included over wifi. The wireless sync was something they added not due to android. The camera lock was an idea floated through a jailbreak that they made mainstream so to speak. I can go on with your “truths” but you should look at computing history as a whole before you go there.

          • Damien

            You’re going from iOS to OSX. In that case let’s have a look at other technologies that predated both iOS and OSX on different platforms from Android, because that’s what you are doing.

      • Andy Taylor

        It’s not the only argument, it’s just the most obvious one and it happens to be one that really gets up the noses of Apple fanboys for some reason. You can’t blame trolls for trolling when you make it so fun for them.

    • If anyone in android owns the right lets sue apple

    • Steven Fisher

      Please. They’re both uninspired dreck, similar to what we’ve seen in (for instance) instant messenger programs for over a decade.

    • Can you show a couple screenshots comparing? I’d be interested in that.

  • Jason Ip

    somebody call the waaaaambulence

  • But that’s the only obvious way to do it. Clearly they had no choice.

    • Raven Yu

      As a UI designer myself, I could think of plenty of other ways to do it with equal if not better results. There is ALWAYS more than one way to do it.

      • That was sarcastic. 🙂 I was repeating the same arguments Samsung made in court last summer about ripping off Apple’s hardware and software designs.

        • Jason Ip

          Typical Apple fanboys, don’t even know when the other is being sarcastic

  • Apple never invented that type of interface so how is it copying? Same as people who say Apple copied Android’s notification Center when Android wasn’t the first to do it like that either.

    • lomifeh

      If you look at both it’s not merely copying a general idea. They are using the same basic color scheme, the flow, and some other bits. It is not a direct copy but it was definitely inspired by what Apple did, rather heavily.

      • Box of Cotton Swabs

        To be fair, the iTunes color scheme changes based on the album selected. Google’s image search always uses the same gray background.

        It does seem the image was specifically chosen to maximise the similarities.

  • Who cares? Seriously, I’m happy they push each other to do better!

    • But personally, I prefer them doing better not same.

      • Which one? I always prefer them to nock each other off as hard as possible to puch each other. I don’t prefer one side to be better. I’d rather have them start a creativity-war…

        • Somebody makes something unique and somebody else copies it, forcing the other to make something different, just so they won’t be the same. Yeah, I guess you could call that a war, although I’d probably call it a war on creativity rather than a creativity war. But then I guess you could argue that the fashion industry has a similar relationship. What starts on the runways of Milan and Paris gets copied wholesale for bargain bins in Walmart. Save Money Live Better eh?

          • More or less, yes, that’s exactly what I mean. And apparently in fashion it’s not enough pressure, because men are wearing a suit and tie since the 18 hundreds and it’s still fashionable and designers are still making a decent living from new colours and variations to the same thing.

        • I don’t like Google. But I admire what they usually do with their products’ interfaces/designs.

          Of course, I prefer them to push other to have a better product as a consumer. But this does not mean to copy each other or make similar things.

          Oh and only war they start against resides in courts nowadays.

    • Innocent consumer. Guess you will never run your own company

      • Thank you, I will take your advice at heart and never run a technology company that produces UIs.

  • mike

    i guess its time to grow up and quit making big deals out of a nothing. what are you, five?

  • Man, Rdio is going to be ticked. 😛

  • Lukas

    The whining about this kind of meaningless stuff is starting to approach annoying dimensions.

    Copying good ideas is a good idea. It makes our lives better. I wish Apple was better at copying stuff, because there are a ton of good ideas in Android and WP8 and webOS and Blackberry 10 that I would love to see in iOS.

    So, can we go back to celebrating awesome stuff, rather than putting down “the enemy” (i.e. the multinational corporation whose products you happen to not own or use as much as some other multinational corporation’s products)?

    • Functionality, I totally agree. Swipe to unlock, notifications, automatically adding periods when you double-space, all should be fair game. But ‘cmon, design, color and layout? Copy-pasting a website’s HTML source wholesale was only acceptable up till MySpace.

      • lukematthewsutton

        Strawman argument. That’s not what has happened here.

  • Bleakvision

    It’s obvious! Crapple is no innovations!!! SPen is innovative, big screens is innovative. Samsung and Google is innovations!

  • This accusation is really stretching it. And in the end, I suspect no matter which “side” you’re on, you’re sick & tired of hearing about it. If not, you probably should be.

  • This is Google admitting they have nothing original to counter Apple’s graphic design with.

  • Tvaddic

    The Google search is just an update to the search they have on the iPad.

  • Its not copying because Google puts their “close X” in the top right corner instead of the top left.

  • lukematthewsutton

    Yeah. Google boosted the idea and applied it to image search. You know what? Thumbs up. Because it’s actually a really good solution.

    Up till now, Google’s image search has been pretty clunky. This latest update makes sense. They haven’t just boosted the aesthetics, but have seen how this particular form of UI works well when browsing large grids.

    So was it a copy? Superficially yes. But I don’t give a shit about the petty ‘google/apple is a ripoff’ arguments.

    I only care about the utility of the software and if the UI design is appropriate.

    • StefanVanPerlo

      wether you care or not does not make a difference to the fact that it’s been ripped off. I don’t think copying is bad, but stand for it “we found the itunes interface so nice we took inspiration from it”. Good designers design themselves tho, this would have been easy to design in a new, clean way. I don’t agree to the usefulness btw; it wastes too much screen real estate for image search.

      • lukematthewsutton

        It does actually. Since ‘ripped off’ is a loaded term. I’m all about the free-flow of ideas and I’m exasperated by the constant bickering about ‘who stole what’.

        Designers do not operate in a vacuum. It is impossible for a designer to create a wholly unique design. Talking about ripoffs inevitably becomes reductive. Look at the way this little post is phrased. It’s not an examination of what constitutes a ripoff or legitimate influence and use. Rather it’s just another example of picking sides; which is pointless.

        When constructing a UI, designers shouldn’t be forced to think ‘is this a ripoff?’, rather they should be thinking ‘does this solve the problem?’.

        The kind of bickering ignited by the term ‘ripoff’ is a waste of time.

        • StefanVanPerlo

          It doesn’t tho. Copying other people’s work is just bad design, and every designer knows it. They could even have done considerably better, because the lack of info given is takes op much less space. Poor poor business from google.

          • lukematthewsutton

            You didn’t actually respond to my points.

          • StefanVanPerlo

            You’re rirght. You are tired of the bickering and in favor of freee flow of ideas(just means you don’t care): having someone stealing your work is stealing, not free flow of ideas.

            Designers don’t operate in a vacuum: they don’t indeed and are influenced: trends and styles have free flow. A 1on 1 copy can’t be called “influenced”.

            Designers don’t check for comparisons, creative directors should; it’s part of their job and should be. Design is part of branding and identity and in that context google is the person in the class copying your outfit to look cool; endong up looking like a twat.

          • lukematthewsutton

            I do actually care. My position is a little more subtle; I’m amused/perplexed at how many people have such a hard-on for the ownership of ideas.

            As for stealing; it’s a well defined term. If I steal a thing, then I deprive someone else of it’s use. How exactly does one steal an idea?

          • StefanVanPerlo

            I can agree to the amusement/perplexion, sometimes things get a bit out of hand.

            I’m not goint to get into the stealing/infringement disussion. I used the term stealing where it’t technically incorrect. Does not mean it’s less bad.

          • Stealing an idea in this context is easily done.

            Apple uses design patents to protect their unique designs, because they want people to see something looking like an iPhone or iPod and instantly recognize it as something made by Apple.

            If other companies simply copy Apples design, those designs will become less attributed to Apple (If you’ve ever mistaken a Galaxy S for an iPhone 3GS you know what i mean) and Apple will lose what they tried to accomplish with their patented designs: Recognizability.

            And with stuff you can’t see easily but will notice when using a product, like the rubberband effect in iOS – that is feature that improves usability and makes a product featuring this effect better than one that doesn’t feature this effect. By copying it, Samsung doesn’t take the rubberband effect away from Apple – but what they tried to accomplish with it – better usability and therefore a product that is better than competing products.

          • lukematthewsutton

            I’m au fait with the uses and justifications of intellectual property.

            However, to reiterate my point; stealing something means depriving someone of it’s use. What you have described is not stealing.

            Violating intellectual property laws? Maybe. Actually stealing? Not by any reasonable interpretation. Having Samsung ripoff an idea does not deprive Apple of it’s use.

            So really, you haven’t made the case that it is stealing. As you say “By copying it, Samsung doesn’t take the rubberband effect away from Apple”.

            What we’re talking about here is the idea that ideas can be owned and ideas can be stolen, which is ludicrous. That we’ve reached a point where we seriously discuss this as ‘stealing’ speaks volumes about the extent to which intellectual property laws have been twisted out of true.

            We can certainly look at Samsung’s behaviour and see that they’ve been lazy shits and ripped off a bunch of ideas without thought. It’s certainly not ethical, but nor is it stealing.

  • Jörg

    goog.. is a pain in the a..

  • Whitey

    Seriously though, this is an important issue. We really need to get to the bottom of this and determine what company first used this design!

    Said no one. Ever.

  • I came up with a prototype of this in June while interning at a random company in Europe. I was 19. No one knew about it but me.

    That doesn’t mean they copied me.

  • Andy Taylor

    Well done, you cherry-picked an example where a little bit of an interface looks really similar to someone else’s interface.

    Good to see at least some people have noted that this particular aesthetic didn’t entirely originate with Apple in the first place.

  • seekay

    These are totally the same, Google have ripped off Apple iTunes design!!

  • Jacob

    I was actually trying to code a similar inline display for block elements (for a personal media server) and saw that Google did it on their image search. I do like how Google added to it with the previous and next navigation buttons though.. My idea is that I want the best easiest to use interface, so I took design elements from each of my favorite interfaces to create one that worked the best for my application (windows media player, google chrome, itunes, plex media server, power dvd 13).

    As for intellectual property… someone once told me that it is actually impossible to think of a “new idea” or something completely original. For example, if you say a pink elephant is completely original, its actually not because you are just combining pink and elephants. Our brains can only combine ideas from other aspects of things that it has ‘seen’ or experienced. There are no new ideas, just variations and combinations of components of thought.