I like to believe that Google got the winning edge on this one because of their materiality philosophy. It’s kind of an evolution on skeuomorphism albeit skeuomorphism did not stay true to the material that would be rendered by its medium. The fact that a designer knew how to convince Google to come up with a identity that imagines how material should behave in a virtual environment is beyond the borderline of genius. Skeumorphism failed because it fell victim to kitsch, imitating certain qualities.
It’s kind of sad that a company such as Apple, holding such high regard of Braun Design and Dieter Ram’s design principles in specific, couldn’t figure this one out.