Is Android really as free as Google like to make it sound?

I just saw an article on TechCrunch that pointed to a (seeingly well-rehearsed) Keynote delivered by Vic Gundotra, VP at Google, that argued why Android is going to be so important for the mobile world. He sold it well, I have to admit, but it got me thinking a little more about how most of use the Internet and connected devices, and what sort of implications his ‘ideal future’ may have for us.

I find it interesting that he talks about the device that would lead to a 1984 type situation. I think he misses something vital – that the device is ultimately only a gateway to the world as we know it now. There’s something to keep in mind here – Apple may (with the iPhone ecosystem) dictate what we can and can’t do with our mobile devices in terms of the Apps we can install and the functionality we can tap into as developers, and yes, you could argue this is draconian, particularly given the App store approval processes and other thing.

However, when you access the Internet, what do you and millions of others probably do when you’re looking for something? I’d say most people hit Google. And what determines the results that appear when you search the Internet? The Google search algorithm. So, ultimately, who has the power to dictate what information you are most likely to see when you use the Internet? Google. And with that information, and the information you give them through services such as Gmail and everything else Google build and encourage people to use, they can tweak that algorithm to present you with what they want you to see.

Android on every phone may make the device and applications you can use on it “free and open”, but it also gives them even more information about you and how you use the Internet. And, in this world, information is power. Just think – if we all had Android on our phones, and we all used Google to search the Internet, imagine the power the men at the top of Google would have over you. What if they decided that ‘not being evil’ wasn’t any fun anymore?


2 thoughts on “Is Android really as free as Google like to make it sound?”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is Android really as free as Google like to make it sound? | FudaBlog --

  2. Noah

    Thats what Google wants right? To be everywhere and know everything about you, but only to serve you ads – thats how they make money right? I mean, and people might not like this idea, but the more they know about you – the better they can advertise things that you would actually be interested in. If they know through the GPS in your phone that you have been visiting car dealerships in Fyshwick, through search that you wanted a sedan and through email that you had a certain budget then they can hook you up with sellers that have what you want – getting closer to perfect information and making you better off.(despite how creepy it might sound)

    However big Google get, they need to keep people’s trust – if they ever did something ( significant) to lose it then I think people would easily switch to competitor products – however good Google’s products are there are still substitutes. It is in their interest to keep being the good guys.

    Just some thoughts.

    This is great blog Bruce. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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