+Alan Zeino asked me "What's up with your double standard bro?"

To be fair what he really said was: Matias; serious question — what's your opinion about Google violating Apple's HIG by using Android–like share buttons in their iOS apps?

Given all the FUD around what design guidelines are for and how designers and developers should approach them, I think it's a fair question.

Iconography is an interesting middle ground between the visual emotional and brand elements of a platform and the functional elements. Some icons have become universal, like the magnifying icon for search. Others are strongly branded, like the +1 or thumb up. Share sits in a middle ground where many consider it a brand element of their platform or service, while it is at the same time being so ubiquitous that recognition is important. There's many other "universal" icons in the HIG that popular services deviate from because they feel that their unique spin does not hamper usability and is part of their brand. Consider the Twitter compose button with it's fanciful quill.

The share icon Google uses in it's properties (and the share icon that Android endorses) is a popular opensource icon and one that we feel well describes the connective nature of sharing. In a sense you could say we believe it's part of our brand and  that Google's brand is to embrace the open and universal standard.
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You should have an apple logo as the delete button just to troll a bit!
 
Great to see you active and engaged here on G+ lately, offering your insights on these types of issues. Thanks!
 
When are we going to get the silly iOS-like buttons out of the Android G+ app?  Not only do they look silly but they're way too small (can you believe I'm complaining about a touch target being too small?).
 
Thanks for taking the time to explain. This is very helpful trying to understand how best to use iconography.
 
+Matias Duarte the +Google+ app needs an updated share button for sure... I love your answer here and anyone that thinks buttons/icons can easily become universal are being naive...

Kinda OT but it needs to be said... I'd LOVE for you or someone like +Roman Nurik +Nick Butcher to get the people of +Netflix to update the horrendous UI of their app... Especially since it was pushed so hard with the release of chromecast... Can't wait for #KLP need any testers? :-)
 
As if Apple would officially endorse anything labeled "share".
 
This is a very thoughtful post. +Matias Duarte I enjoyed your helpful translation of the original question.

I agree that Android's (and other software's) share icon is a better description of the icon's purpose.
 
+Matias Duarte Thanks for the response Matias. This is an important discussion to have!

Of course, YouTube uses a certain share icon and for the sake of consistency, its users shouldn't be confused as to the function of a button when they pick up a YouTube app on any platform — I get that.

But, consider an iOS user new to YouTube (or any of Google's other properties). Perhaps they don't use YouTube on the desktop, only iOS. What will they think that share button does? Do we want them to find out by trial–and–error, or would we hope that it were clear on first glance? I'd say we'd both agree that the latter is preferable to the former.

And that scenario might seem farfetched but in reality it isn't; I know people whose main computing device is an iPad, and whose only computing experience is with iOS. So while the share glyph which Google is using is commonly used in Open Source projects and other web properties, on iOS, it is uncommon.

The majority of iOS apps follow Apple's HIG and use Apple's share icon. There's a reason Apple bakes it into iOS — they want you to use it.

So while we might disagree with Apple's design choice, we have to respect their decision, and more importantly, adhere to their wishes. Not for their sake, but for the benefit of their users. Of course, Apple doesn't do the same vis–à–vis iTunes on Windows, but that's a whole other discussion.

You were right to begin with; platform guidelines are important. I don't like seeing Android apps which look like iOS ports, and vice versa. But if you're going to admonish Yahoo for making some questionable design choices with Weather on Android, it's important to note that Google isn't a saint on iOS either.
 
How about we bring Chrome os to phones already. I love Android but its time you guys took back Android from the power of the OEMs made a more unified experience
 
To be fair, +Alan Zeino is a bit of a lost cause. 
 
Have to agree with +Alan Zeino "The share icon Google uses in it's properties (and the share icon that Android endorses) is a popular opensource icon and one that we feel well describes the connective nature of sharing. In a sense you could say we believe it's part of our brand and  that Google's brand is to embrace the open and universal standard." You cannot hide behind openness all the time And it almost looks like you made that reason up :-)
 
Being a heavy IOS user for years and a newcomer to Android I can tell you that I miss the beauty and consistency found in Apple devices. Comparing ios 7 (I am using it since it was released to devs) to Android 4.3 the first is much more beautiful and pleasant for me. Android? Looks unfinished business, but, a lot more fun to use. Don't get me wrong, I love android, but I hope to see in it the same consistence I find in IOS. 
 
But... it's not the share button anywhere except Android (and the Google iOS apps). It's not the "Google" share button at all. It's the Android share button. I mean, the share button on THIS POST is much more like the iOS share button. I've never seen the three-prong share button anywhere except Android, and as an iOS user it's really, really confusing. Every time I see it it takes a second for a mental operation: "what the hell does that button do? Oh, right, it's Google's version of 'share'".
 
+Stamatios Stamou Júnior Unfinished business? Only the other day I was closely looking at details in Android (4.3 for that matter) and have noticed how polished the whole experience is. Even in the more popular third-party apps you can see a lot of improvement when it comes to consistency but at the same time keeping their individuality. Both graphic details, actions and animations in Google apps and android in general and system features directed at users of any level are seriously thought through and executed with precision. The latest trend of removing apps from system and putting them up as separate apps in the store is probably the best example of it. If you think that this is unfinished business then OK but remember that iOS' recent comlete change of design language the amount of features that were 'inspired' by android and other OSs means android is much more finished than iOS.
I don't see any reason why Google shouldn't use their own icons/buttons in their own apps if that gives them consistency within app or ecosystem. I'd rather see someone finally doing something about absolutely inconsistent and senseless placement of 'back' buttons on iOS.
 
I'm sorry, but that's as poor as an answer as possible. Google is in the wrong on this one, perhaps if they show the adequate respect on other platforms, we'll see others do the same on Android. BTW, the comparison between "tweet" and "share" was a terrible fit. 
 
I don't spend a lot of time on iOS devices, but when I do, I end up completely lost for this very reason. Because of Apples unique "share" icons (that you don't see anywhere else), I never know what to press. But, I can spot a Google or Facebook share/like/+1 button no matter what system I'm using. They are the same across all properties, and I appreciate that.
 
I frequently click the share button on G+ posts when I intend to post a comment. Might be just as much down to the placement and not just the icon itself.
 
+Morgan Harris that is weird because iOS is the only place where I see Apple's share icon.

+Stamatios Stamou Júnior iOS is not consistent. Their core apps had many different interfaces for the sake of "design". The weather app had that weird info button. Notes had an ugly font. Apps worked in their own ways because Apple wanted that. It is bad design. Google apps seem to work together better in terms of function and design.

Major apps had their own design guidelines that were far away from Apple apps. Facebook has a slide out menu. Instagram has its own interface. Slide to refresh was not full iOS for a while. 
 
+Nick Felker yeah. That's the point. You use the iconography of a platform, not a different platform you also happen to own. I was taking issue with +Matias Duarte saying that the three-pronged icon was the one used by "Google [and] its properties". It's not. It's ONLY used by Android.
 
+Morgan Harris I see the three pronged share icon all over the web. Perhaps it is only on Google sites, I can't verify that right now, but it is a ton more iconic.
 
The share icon on this post is a different one (swoopy right arrow). 
 
It is now "one year later," and I use iOS. If your purpose is to confuse iPhone users, congratulations! I had stopped using several Google Apps because they have mysterious icons. But of course, that's what to brand if your purpose is to make Google apps harder to use. 
 
In developing UX, you should care about users first, not subscribing to some weak-sauced "open source standard" graphic.

You're making a product marketing decision and trying to pawn it off as a UX decision.
 
Shorter version: "We're too lazy to change it and/or it serves our corporate marketing interests."
 
A solid reason to boycott Google apps on iOS whenever possible. If you don't respect the platform, then screw you, we don't want you here 
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