Last night I posted a quick blurb that said:
I just want to go on record here that I will go back to using tin cans and fucking string before I use a phone with an OS developed by Google. So mote it be.
In the comments for that post Wes asked:
What’s your reason for this? Don’t like Google or some other objection? I’d use it if its Mac support was as good as the iPhones and the user experience was as good or better.
I don’t really have much else to write about; so I figure I’ll go ahead and answer this one.
The bottom line is, no I do not like Google. Why don’t I like Google? Well, the answer to that question is long and complicated; so I’m going to limit my answer to Google in relation to the Android OS.
What Google Is:
To start out I’d like to take a brief moment to summarize exactly what Google is; since many in the tech industry don’t seem to know. Google is a publicly traded corporation; just like Apple, or everyone’s least favorite tech. company: Microsoft. This means that Google exists solely to provide a decent return for its investors. In fact, should the Google Board of Directors act in a manner that is demonstrably not in the fiduciary interests of its investors they would be exposing themselves to legal action.
Specifically, Google is an advertising company. I know this part comes as a shock to many people; but Google doesn’t make a dime directly from the services they offer (search, Gmail, Android, etc). This, of course, is the point where someone leaps to inform me that Google does charge for their enterprise services; but seriously, that revenue is a drop in the bucket. The truth is that everything that Google does, from free email hosting to building a mobile phone OS is done to either further a platform for advertisement delivery, or to gather demographic data to help refine that delivery system. If you won’t accept this, then you may as well stop reading. You’ve drunk the Flavor-Aid and there is no helping you.
What Google Isn’t
We just covered what Google is; here is a brief list of what Google isn’t.
- Google isn’t a charity: I have no doubt that many, if not all of the individuals working at Google have the highest aims and ideals; but at then end of the day Google is a publicly traded, for-profit corporation.
- Google is not infallible: Somewhere along the line, many in the tech. world got it into their heads that Google could do no wrong. Their search is always relevant, their maps are always accurate, their code is always perfect, their intentions are always noble. I’m sorry, Google is a collection of individual people. People are fallible, people make mistakes, and the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
- Google is not unique. Google happens to be in the great position of being a market leader capable of attracting the best talent. Nifty, others have been there before.
Why I Won’t Own an Android Phone
In the end, my rational for declaring that I will never own a phone running an OS produced by Google is a simple one. I don’t want to use a device running an OS built by an advertising company. There you go, simple and clear. I don’t trust Google; and, given the choice, I’d rather give my money to a company that is relatively up front about their intentions to make a ass-load of filthy lucre off their products. It certainly helps that, in my opinion, the iPhone is parsecs ahead of the T-Mobile G1/Android combination that is currently the only Android game in town. But even if they did have feature parity, my device would be the iPhone.
But let me make one thing perfectly clear; nothing I’ve written should be taken as arecommendationto others. The G1 works for you? Great, knock yourself out. Unlike my friends at the Free Software Foundation, I believe in choice. At the end of the day though, I’ll keep my iPhone. And, if Apple folds, there’s always semaphore.