Android Asks: Where’s Google Gone?


Though once purported by Google to be the saviour of the mobile platform, Android appears to be at a crossroads where the search giant — who invented and championed it — is leaving it behind like a forgotten child in a cart at a grocery store parking lot. It’s not news that the mobile operating system hit some big and unexpected snags along the way since its inception in 2007, but Google has taken a hands-off approach as of late that might signify its plan to leave Android behind.

PC World looked at Google’s aloof relationship with Android in a recent article and calls Google to account for it, citing the seven months since their last major Android announcement, stating publicly that Android isn’t a crucial component of Google’s business strategy, and expressing fears that Android may end up being the next Google Wave:

Your neglect is starting to show for those of us who depend on Android. Lately, finding apps in the Google Play store has been harder than usual–even popular apps can be difficult to locate at times, and it’s worse if the user is searching for tablet-specific applications. App makers are feeling lost, with no one to guide them through the perils of making an app that works on multiple Android devices. And sometimes it feels as if the carriers and device makers have more control over Android than you do; they dictate how the OS looks, what it can run, and whether a phone or tablet will receive an update to the OS.

While they are up to their neck in patent lawsuits and trying to make people like Google+, there’s a degree of intent that’s obviously present. In other words: Google’s careful steps away from Android aren’t simply a matter of poor  time management. It’s easy to see why Google may have simply had enough: Android failed to get into an advantageous position with carriers (the way iOS did) and has largely been their plaything ever since. Handset fragmentation has gone from being an annoyance to being the main barrier to effective development. And as if that’s not enough, Android malware has increased to the tune of 3000 percent in the last year. For Google, the management of Android must seem very much like having a fistfight with a swarm of gnats.

If Google is, indeed, trying to sneak out of bed with Android before it wakes up and wonders where they went, it would be a real shame. The promise of a more open, flexible mobile operating system may have been highly idealistic, but it wasn’t uncalled for. The odds were largely against Google from the outset, as they clearly didn’t grasp the breadth of implications that came with an “Open” system (and have been trying to close it ever since). But if Android is ever going to really supplant iOS, they’re going to need Google to show up to the fight.

Source: PC World

Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio