I’ve been very disappointed in Google recently. Google, the undisputed king of the search engine and online advertising world.
The first disappointment was Google’s criticism of Apple’s ‘private’ APIs.
“We use the same tools we expect our third-party developers to,” Mr. Rubin said. “We have an SDK we give to developers. and when we write our Gmail app, we use the same SDK. A lot of guys have private APIs. We don’t. That’s on policy and on technology. If there’s a secret API to hook into billing system we open up that billing system to third parties. If there’s a secret API to allow application multitasking, we open it up. There are no secret APIs. That is important to highlight for Android sake. Open is open and we live by our own implementations.”
Private APIs are a list of APIs which Apple has asked developers not to use. The reason is that they are undocumented and sometimes in a state of transition.
Now Android has undocumented APIs as found on DaringFireBall
Transcript of slide 34 from the “Beginner’s Guide to Android” session at Google I/O today:
• Don’t use undocumented APIs
• Seriously. Don’t use undocumented APIs
so in essence, Google can criticise but doesn’t see the same problems in their own software. And Android isn’t really as open as they might say.
The Android governance model consists of an elaborate set of control points that allows Google to bundle its own services and control the exact software and hardware make-up on every handset. All this while touting the openness rhetoric that is founded on the Apache permissive license used in the Android SDK.
Whereas Android is completely open for the software developer ecosystem, it’s completely closed for the handset OEM (pre-load) ecosystem.
which is from Is Android Evil. They continue:
There are multiple, private codelines available to selected partners (typically the OEM working on an Android project) on a need-to-know basis only.
All code reviewers work for Google, meaning that Google is the only authority that can accept or reject a code submission from the community.
OEMs wanting to build on Android have no choice but to stay close to Google so as not to lose on new features/bug fixes released.
Little is known about the anti-fragmentation agreement signed by OHA members
The visibility offered into Android’s roadmap is pathetic. At the time of writing, the roadmap published publicly is a year out of date (Q1 2009)
The Open Handset Alliance is another myth; since Google managed to attract sufficient industry interest in 2008, the OHA is simply a set of signatures with membership serving only as a VIP Club badge.
and this is not to say that Google is worse than Apple or Microsoft. But Apple and Microsoft do not pretend that they are open. What you get is what you pay for. They’re not promising everything you could ever want and cake as well and all for the price of free. But the lie certainly tells me that Google is not open, they are not our friends and they certainly have a liberal interpretation of “Don’t Be Evil”.
And this, when you add to the complete hash that is the hardware revision cycle for Android phones (and subsequent platform fragmentation), is the reason I don’t have an Android phone – even though I want one.
Another classic was Matt Drance pointing out the blatant lie from Vic Gundotra, Google’s VP of Engineering. Google have said at IO that they developed Android because they did not want a future where mobile was controlled by one man, one company, one carrier. Of course this is a sly dig at Steve Jobs, Apple and AT&T (and who else could it have been aimed at?). But it’s also a complete lie.
The iPhone was not revealed to the public until January 2007 and yet Google bought Android in 2005. Now it’s entirely possible that Eric Schmidt, while still serving on Apple’s board (which he continued to do for several years), was working in 2005 to undermine Apple’s nascent and unannounced product; a product that wouldn’t even be announced for another 18 months. My opinion is that Gundotra has simply re-engineered the past to make it sound like Android is going to save everyone from evil Apple. Remember this is Apple who have been working hard on the best, most standard-compliant web browser engine on the market. They have a huge amount invested in HTML5, the open standard, and they seem to be putting a great amount of effort into it. Google, on the other hand, have embraced Flash (one of the media bastions of the last decade) in a cynical move to get Adobe’s attention (and the attention of their fans and Flash developers) to again point out the evils of Apple. What’s absolutely incredible is that people are buying their story.
Again, they have an extremely liberal definition of Evil when it obviously doesn’t include niceties such as ‘honesty’.
Again, I’m not saying any company is perfect but at least you know what you’re getting with Microsoft and Apple. Even Adobe, whose flagging fortunes really need the CS5 release to be amazing, can be excused their recent lies (Oh! Apple abandoned us!) because there is a clear and present danger to their business. But Google is not in decline. They don’t have that excuse.
This is a company that knows more about you than you do. They only rival FaceBook for their invasive methods of divining information and they do so to provide you with advertisements. Your time, your attention, pays for the Googleplex. And frankly, after their recent performance, I don’t trust them. Their ‘open’ rhetoric stinks.