On Google, Apple, data, privacy, rhetoric — and making up your own mind

Today Apple executives will take the stage at the keynote address for the Worldwide developer conference. WWDC. I'll be watching. Like Google I/O nearly two weeks ago and Microsoft's Build conference earlier this year, it's a preview of things to come, and immensely important in the tech space.

Plus, seeing new stuff is always cool.

For me, the product is what's important. New software. New features. New APIs and ways of doing things. The rhetoric, as it tends to always be, is generally unimportant bullshit. And it has been for years. From all sides.

Over the past few weeks — following an important-but-barbed talk from Apple CEO Tim Cook — the rhetoric has turned to privacy and security and data and how only products you pay for are good and any sort of free services are inherently bad and basically whore out what's left of your post-Snowden soul.

It's an important discussion to have. And one we'll continue to have. But it's not one-sided. It's not binary.

And, actually, it's interesting to see how the rhetoric has changed recently.

Google does things differently. But it also continues to do them openly, and did so from the beginning.

Apple makes a kick-ass product. Google makes killer services. One of those things requires money for customers to obtain. The other runs on data. And that data has to come from somewhere. Us. Everyone. The entire Internet, really. That's not a secret — it's all spelled out in the infamous "Founders Letter" Larry Page and Sergey Brin submitted as " 'An Owner's Manual' for Google's Shareholders" along with the company's initial public offering in 2004.

You can pick and choose any part of that letter for whatever purpose you want to illustrate. (Hindsight is great like that.) I encourage you to read the entire letter. And now I'll pick and choose this part:

Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served-as shareholders and in all other ways-by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.

And here's one more turn of phrase that appears at the beginning and end of the letter. (That's called primacy and recency, boys and girls, and it's a great tool.)

Google is not a conventional company.

Remember that. Why does Google continue to make it's services available on other platforms? See above. (And, again, read the entire letter and things like Google Glass and Project Loon suddenly have context.)

It wasn't long ago that Google apps and services were being praised by iOS pundits. Did Google get too good? Or did Apple never catch up?

There was a time not too long ago when it was OK to use Google's services on Apple's products.

To wit: "The iPhone is once again one of the best Google phones on the planet," by iMore editor-in-chief Rene Ritchie in 2013:

... because of Google making this new, better generation of apps, and Apple approving them, we're approaching something of a renaissance. You can now, once again, have a phenomenal Google experience on the iPhone, whether that's just the Gmail you use at home or work, or the full suite of apps you prefer over Apple's built-in offerings.

No mentions of doom and gloom back then. Granted, this was mere five months before Edward Snowden's revelations would shine a new light on the importance (or futility, depending on who you ask) of privacy in the Internet age. We're all more aware now. But, still, you can't help but notice the change in tenor.

Or go back to when Google Now was announced in 2012. The all-knowing predictive service is still being attacked as demanding to know too much about our lives — never mind that we have to explicitly let it in. But there was a time when granting Apple's Siri that same sort of intelligence was heralded.

Again, from iMore, just two weeks before Google Now was even announced:

With iOS 6, Apple just added sports, movies, restaurants and more to Siri. More is likely to come.That kind of customer insight is invaluable. It's a ticket to print money. Apple may never choose to cash that ticket in -- it's a very different business -- but either way they're shutting competitors out of doing it.

Words like "customer insight" and "ticket to print money"? Surely that can't be referring to Apple, can it?

Fast forward to 2015, and iMore's "Understanding Apple and privacy."

It's equally vital to understand that everything has a cost. That cost can be in money, or it can be in time, data or attention. Apple products tend to cost money. That's easy to understand. Building something from scratch tends to cost time, which is also easy to understand. Giving up data and attention is different.

So Apple has a war chest of knowledge — your data, same as any number of other companies. Maybe it'll "cash that ticket in." Or maybe it won't. I'm inclined to believe that it won't. But I'm also inclined to read that Google Founders Letter one more time and remember that here's a company that put its cards on the table from the start.

Ignore the rhetoric and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.

Privacy and data go hand in hand. When your data is aggregated to the point that privacy is impossible — hi, NSA — that's bad. But so, too, is losing the ability to think for yourself. Don't just blindly use a service because I tell you to. Or because a CEO tells you to. Read about it, first. Don't just click through app permissions and install boxes. Ask questions in our forums.

And read the terms of service for more information. Here are some handy links for the Big 3:

You'll find a lot in common between the three there. Especially if you read into interest-based advertising and collecting usage data. (Hint: They all do it. Every. Single. One.)

For me, it comes down to what I get from a service. I stopped using Foursquare, for example, because I never actually got anything out of telling it every damned place I visited. The payoff of badges and crappy recommendations — again, to me — isn't worth the data trade-off. That doesn't make it evil, though. Gmail and Google Now and Google Photos are services that I get a ton of benefit from. But by the same token nobody's forcing anyone to use any of them. Same goes for any number of the features on an Android phone. We can — and do — tell you how to control any number of them. (Exhibits A, B, C, D and E, for starters.) You can shut it all off, but, yes, you'll be missing out on some great features. That's part of making grown-up decisions, folks.

Because as every company and GI Joe fan has recognized, knowledge (and knowing) is power. (And half the battle.) Someone's decided there shall be a war on services. We'll no doubt hear more about that today. Some of it might even be true. Arm yourself with information — and more important the ability to learn more. Ignore the rhetoric.

And then decide for yourself.

Phil Nickinson
  • A very well written article. Thank you a thousand times for this. I think everyone who is bent on Google's services needs to read this to be better educated. It's tiring to hear that Google "makes you the product" when you use their services. People act like Google leaves the data center door unlocked and everyone could come in and see what they please. Again, thanks for an excellent write up. It was much needed. Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • Well, to be fair, didn't they kind of leave the door open by not encrypting traffic between data centers? If anyone in the private sector knew what the NSA was doing, google, apple and microsoft were the ones. Posted
  • I would say they left the door wide open had they not fixed the problem. Should they have encrypted beforehand? Yes. I don't think google was intentionally handing data over because of a misstep. That problem is now fixed. Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • But they didn't do anything until Snowden leaked anything, nobody did anything, not Google, Yahoo, Facebook. They all had been issued warrants and did things they say they didn't want to do, but they still did it. Posted
  • Again, should these companies have taken care of that beforehand? Yes indeed. But the argument here is not this. The argument is *what do companies do with the data you allow them to have.* The connotation that Apple users have about the competing companies is they aren't secure with their data. That can't be farther from the truth. Read the privacy policy from both Google and Apple and see what are the differences. You will see not much. Don't take my word for it. Do your own research. Posted from the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, or Surface Pro 3
  • I'm directly commenting on what they do with our data. Leaving the backdoor open until they were caught is what they did. That was our data they let the NSA snoop on. Let's get it straight, I'm not worried about what Google does with my information, I'm worried about what somebody less "good" would do with it. Posted
  • Google did not encrypt the traffic on its own, dedicated (!) lines they use between the data centers because they did not expect the NSA or the government to violate the integrity of the infrastructure like this. I think one might criticize this as naïve in hindsight but I think this was just an unexpected attack vector. Apart from that, all US companies have the problem of having to obey gag orders and to hand over user data if requested.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Cause they HAD to ... um.. at that point in time, it was a warrant. You cant just tell them to f off really.
  • The problem is, Google DOES make you the product. They provide no customer service to Gmail users. But they do provide customer service to the ad providers who pay to display ads to Gmail users. Your value to Google is limited to how much money they can get from showing you ads.
  • I've spoken with Google customer service for Gmail. They are a Big company, so no doubt service might be slow or lacking in quality (it should be, I have a hard time thinking of one large corporation with good CS... Why should Google be different)... but the CS framework IS there. I swear...it wasn't that funky mushroom pizza I ate.
  • I've never even had a need for customer service while using Gmail and I've had my account since the beginning when you had to know someone to get it in. I'd rather use a service that's so well-designed service that rarely has problems than a crappy service with people in call centers who will help me with said crappy service.
  • What ads? I check Gmail all day long and I see no ads. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've never needed to contact Google's customer service for anything. I'd say that's better than most companies. I consider a product to be the best if it just works and doesn't need any service. If I continually need to contact customer service for a product, it's time to find a different product, whether customer service is good or bad. To me, good products don't need customer service, but crappy products do. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Bingo! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google most certainly does have customer support for Gmail. Not sure where that is coming from. No its not speedy but they conversed with me through emails and even a chat session to help my problem along, anyone who has tried and actually needed them can find the support. Posted via Android Central App
  • Well put.
  • An excellent read, highlighting several very important and very overlooked points. Keep 'em coming, Nick. I think your last section describes the average user quite well - we skip past app permissions and thoughts like "what parts of -me- does this put on the Internet" because we want access to a service, and then proceed to cry wolf when something becomes public that I wanted to keep to myself. Obviously this can happen without people's approval (again, hi NSA) but I'm pretty sure we've mostly approved the stuff that's taken from our devices. It's a bit like these cases of Apple and Google having to reimburse parents who become financially crippled after leaving their unlocked tablets lying around the house. It's not the service provider's fault, but you're gonna blame them anyway because it's easier than accepting your own responsibility.
  • Lol. Rene won't like that.
  • All that shade thrown, Rene will never sweat again. Sloths fight leopards. You can't open a bag of chips. Clearly humans are the weaker species.
  • Let him not like it, he obviously needs to learn a thing or.. well a lot.
  • Great article Phil... as usual. I loved the " They all do" now maybe some of the whiners on Imore and WC will understand... Then again probably not... Lol Posted with my awesome LG g4
  • I'm not falling for all that FUD any longer. Posted via the Android Central App
  • A very well written and informed article.
    I'd be interested in knowing what apps/services Rene uses on most of his devices, what with all this talk about privacy and keeping your data to yourself and not giving it to companies.
  • Love this article. Next April fool's, I am going to be pregnant with Phil's children.
  • LOL Awesome, Phil. You've always been my fave of the Mobile Nations editors.
  • It really was a fantastic article. Very well done
  • "Some of it might even be true", unfortunately the public at large won't do the work to figure which is which.
  • Shots fired. Well written piece Phil. Read that propaganda piece by Ritchie over the weekend and threw up a little. But that's the price iMore has to pay if they want to stay in Apple's good graces. Want access and review items? Toe the company line. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What's sad is that they don't get review units until they can actually buy them in some cases
  • Where is rene??? Read this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, there's this little Apple "WWDC 2015" event going on right now...
  • He'll get to it, and then counter it with his usual biased garbage that only someone delusional and in love with apple could come up with
  • Great article Phil.... You guys have always been fair to other platforms and respect other people's choices unlike iMore which looks like is always running Apple's agenda. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's truly exhausting isn't it? I've been a tech junkie since I was a kid, and have had every smart device since the monochrome palm devices. I had windows mobile phones, the original iPhone, the palm pre (rip dog!), and have been on android since the htc one first launched. I just went back to iOS for the watch (having exhausted every other watch platform), and while apple makes some awesome products... damn there's so much animosity toward any other platform with apple fans. It makes it hard to just love tech. Find a sports team to cheer for, all of these companies are doing awesome and awful things.
  • There's alot of butthurt that apple fanboys carry around. After all i've read these last few years, im certain a big part of it is they don't like the idea that people would see apple's rival platform as having the superior functionality, flexibility, customization, and hardware, and overall capability. Things that many android fans emphasize as essential. It makes their faces turn red with anger, and in some cases steam coming out of their ears (apple fanboys that is). lol
  • No Posted via the Android Central App
  • There are different forms of currency. Your data is a form of currency; spend it wisely. --- This message brought to you via the sarcasm keyboard available for download at the Google Play Store.
    LG-G2 on Lollipop.
  • Great post.
  • Fantastic write-up, Phil. Definitely encourages a more high-level glance and perspective.
  • Well said Phil. And a bit sad that this needed to be said. There's an epic rhetoric echo chamber that is hell bent on obscuring the truth and both sides (even more if you toss in Amazon and Microsoft and all the apps that collect information). As a consumer of these products I am well aware that I'm trading my information for convenience. I may do it begrudgingly, but I still do it. I'd much rather pay for an app outright to forego anyone collecting my data. The bottom line is Apple calling out Google (and vice versa) on privacy issues is laughable.
  • Even though I'm getting leary of what Google is asking me to give them, iMore folks have to stop saying all the writers are like Renee. He acts like phones are an actual wat, with good and bad guys. It's a stupid phone, all we want out of the writers on these sites is information, not biased hit pieces. So, thanks Phil for being an adult. Posted
  • Rene seems to thrive on biased hit pieces. He wrote an article about the alignment of ports on a phone and why that makes apple better than Samsung. He's a cartoon character representation of an apple fanboy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • He makes Apple fans look bad and perpetuates the stereotypes about Apple fanboys. For Christ's sake he vacations in Cupertino! Who does that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Great read. Like it's been said in other articles, these huge companies have wayyyyy much to lose by mishandling your sensitive information. Plus, think of it this way. People are so afraid of what Google might do with that picture you took of your lunch, or your location data from where you ate lunch. But you swiped your credit card at that restaurant. Or you probably bought something online during lunch that made you put in all your personal info, address, and credit card number. How is that not more risky?
  • So true! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apart from the fact that he said Google doesn't force you to use its services, it does force you to use Gmail if you download apps from the playstore. And until recently if you wanted to use the Photos app you needed to have Google+ otherwise the photos app couldn't be used. All I want from Google is search, maps and YouTube, I would like the ability to remove the other apps such as play music, play books, play movies etc. And I really hate Gmail, just deleting emails is a nightmare, and now on my Nexus 5 they have removed the email app, forcing me to use gmail. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "it does force you to use Gmail if you download apps from the playstore" No, it doesn't.
  • Eh? Open mail, touch trash can icon. Some nightmare. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "just deleting emails is a nightmare..." What!? Right swipe email > email deleted... What is so difficult about that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Crosslad17, I'd like you to explain why you think gmail is so terrible. I find it straight-forward to deal with; intuitive even. Specifically, why is the act of deleting emails so difficult? Also, why would you buy a Nexus phone if you're hostile to Google? Are you here to troll?
  • Exactly Posted via the Android Central App
  • Really well-written article Phil! Might open the eyes of some people... Hopefully! Posted via the Android Central App
  • thanks phil.
  • Very nice article, thanks for your insight. I will never read the full terms of service so these opinions matter a lot.
  • Much respect for the clear & concise information, also much more respect for mentioning your sister site and its leader Renee Richie. Renee, Serenity, and the rest all seem like very decent educated people but when it comes to their Apple bias that rings loudly in their podcasts it is truly a letdown especially from Renee because in my humble opinion he is the worst offender. Peter, Ren, & Georgia will tell u if something isn't "perfect" with Apple if they feel that way while Renee glosses over it & makes excuses for Apple. Just watch one of there podcasts, look @ Renee's face when one of the other team members even barley criticizes Apple, he looks pissed or @ least sad & moves on real quick. Listen the imore podcast is the only Apple show I watch besides Mac Break Weekly & it's because of the people, I just wish Renee would tone down the Apple can do no wrong & Google is just waiting in the shadows ready to pounce, after all they have all our photos now too, right Renee, what was it u said last show, SkyNet has to start somewhere. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My sentiments too. Rene and Serenity especially are GREAT writers. But I do think they too often let their Apple bias influence their thinking, and it shows in their articles. It can get really bad sometimes, too.
  • So true ^^^ Posted via Android Central App
  • This is great perspective, Phil. The important lesson for consumers here is to take everything said by a corporation and its representatives with a grain of salt. They are all in it to make money, and they will all try to sell an advantage over their competitors through rhetoric that may not be a true reflection of reality. (I am sure we will hear a lot of that at WWDC.) "Don't be evil" is a nice idea that might not apply to every decision or policy from an individual consumer's perspective. It is nice to see Phil acknowledging that some of the articles on iMore cross a line into trolling, and I would love to hear a Mobile Nations podcast where Rene is confronted directly about this.
  • See people its pretty easy to put your big boy pants on and make decisions for yourself. Thanks for the read Phil. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Tell it, Phil!
  • Excellent article to start my Monday morning. Thanks, Phil!
  • "Over the past few weeks — following an important-but-barbed talk from Apple CEO Tim Cook — the rhetoric has turned to privacy and security and data and how only products you pay for are good and any sort of free services are inherently bad and basically whore out what's left of your post-Snowden soul." Translation... "We're about to release a new service and we want you to be stoked and pumped up to pay for it. Because paying is better."  
  • Gives standing ovation. Bravo! It's long past time we put the fanboyism aside and had thoughtful discussions on what's right and wrong in the mobile technology world these days. When a company has your blind loyalty and obedience, they can trample your rights and privacy at will. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks Phil. Was hoping you'd do this after the posts on G+. People, do due diligence and then pick your poison. Posted via the Android Central App on my Asus ZenFone 2
  • that's why they (hopefully) pay you the big bucks :-)
  • Excellent article, Phil! Thank you.
  • Nice one Phil. This is why Android Central is my favourite tech news site. No rhetoric or pre-conceived ideas, just open-minded approaches and honest opinions.
  • It's not just about Google providing relevant ads - it's about Google NOT providing irrelevant ads. For example, I didn't even realize that I haven't been seeing ads about ED. Lol Dang straight this was "Posted via the Android Central App"
  • Maybe they are relevant and you don't want to admit it.
  • Lol Dang straight this was "Posted via the Android Central App"
  • WOW! SLAMMED!!! Thank you Phil for pointing these things out! As for Rene, I wish someone would get rid of him and bring someone new in. Tired of his biased stuff. I think BGR suits Rene way better honestly.
  • OMG I have been saying that for sometime! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think this hatred for different OSs is getting out oh hand lately. It really is time that Mobile Nations split from each other and each went their own way. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No I think it is time Rene left iMore to start his own blog or go to BGR and iMore puts one of the other, better members of iMore in charge as we don't see FUD or crap articles from them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Someone twisting your arm to read him?
  • Shoo troll. Be gone.
  • He would fit in better with the WABs over at AI lately. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Now this is journalism!
    Rene should take a lesson from Phil, then again Rene is just a F....G wanna be
  • Data driven services are cool until they hamper what could be a great user experience. Google Play Services for example.
  • I really loved my BlackBerry 10 device cuz it could load apk's like a boss, but when it comes to apps needing Google Play Services it becomes less a champ running said apps. I'd probably buy a BlackBerry Passport if Google Play Services worked with it. Follow @TheGroupRide
  • I'd love to have a blackberry passport as my second device! -Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4-
  • Thank you Phil.
  • WOW ,Well written article . Some times i think iMore just bash google so that their comment counter keeps on ticking . Other wise for normal stuff it looks pretty dreary
  • Hey an example of an article written that does not come across as a fanboy article.
    iMore chief editor should take note as he has gone off the deep end of Apple fanboy writing. I take Rene stuff and consider most of it garage at this point as it is so full of fanboy BS and hate that it is not worth anything any more. Phil you should help Rene become better as he is making iMore Apple fanboy and hurting the entire Mobile nations.
  • Thank you, Phil. Another insightful article.
  • Thank you so much Phil! You guys needed to do this and hopefully it sheds more light on a subject Rene was not willing to give a fair perspective to! Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is some manner of fanboy here, from Phil. Google's whole "don't be evil" thing is no more than the same thin rhetoric Tim Cook has been using. But Phil is only seeing one side here. Google's primary example of "open", Android, is a lie. The MADA, a document which governs the terms of the vast majority of Androids that Google fans own, is a top secret document, we've only got glimpses of through the court proceedings against it. It's blatantly anticompetitive and "evil", by definition. But Google hides that beneath the covers, making everyone who sees it sign an NDA first.
  • +100 Google had a great promise and potential for good, but inevitably it turned into something diametrically opposed.
    The problem is that the tech industry is going in one specific direction and I don't see the way to alter it. We can only "choose" lesser evil. BTW, this would be a good read
    "When Google met WikiLeaks" via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • "Google had a great promise and potential for good, but inevitably it turned into something diametrically opposed"
    I agree, they seems to be turning into what Stevie B turned MSFT into a hated company playing God in the past by isolating other platforms and not playing well with others. Google for and Open source company bluntly refusing to make its services available to WP... Look at Satya, He is throwing out the gamut to all platforms and now folks are actually using the word open with MSFT name next to it.
  • If Android had 3% market share, as Windows Phone does, you can bet Microsoft wouldn't be doing anything on the platform.
  • Isn't the MADA an agreement between Google and OEMs (rather than end users)? I think you and Phil are taking about two different things...
  • Fantastic Monday read. Great job, Phil!
  • My discouragement is mostly with Cook, not the press; I expect journalists to tread a bit between truth and sensationalism to grab readership. But I think it's tactless and counterproductive to stand on stage and spew propaganda at an event that is supposed to celebrate his company's achievements and future direction.
  • @big_drew, Exactly. Cook is starting to sound like Alex Jones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apple draws readers, go to the Verge and look at their Apple coverage. Their front page is mainly apple articles, this was not the same at io or build. The one thing apple fans love doing more than bragging about their phone, is reading about it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • you are right. He's so afraid Apple is always behind Google's Android
  • Where is google on all platforms??? Where we have Windows Phone or Windows 8 apps?? Why did they blocked app which MS made and never made any. Where were they blocking or limiting there experience on WP. Why did they respond so late, when so many WP developers were in trouble. This is no good defense on how google is no different than other company! Why do we need to sync contacts on google to use contact recognition on Google now? Why we need install Google docs to edit docs on Drive! Why no integration with other apps???? Why we always have two apps Gmail and other email, two message clients, two gallery apps?, when they say there open source why don't they make it optional!!!!!! Why can they allow to change global search provider, they cried loud, when Vista didn't allow! Why they want to force use there apps? Look google chrome, its forceful use of google, they want to build chome os right into windows. Background running, background process! I agree other comps take data, but google deliberately needs data, to power there services and search engine. Other comps provide a good control over privacy and data, google has just started to put control. For Google data is there daily food!!!
  • What is Windows Phone's market share?
  • That's the reason. It isn't cost effective to spend money developing and supporting apps for a product with less than 3% market share. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ok, google has no time for WP, why it tried to kill YouTube app made by Microsoft! They said they are developing, there are little but no efforts from Google side. EDIT: Cost - effective? How much they benefit from Android itself? No other than SAMSUNG and LG these days benefiting from Android!
  • Violation of terms of service.
  • What not using HTML5? Were there apps themselves using same? Ok.. why didn't they helped making MS same!
  • Google gives you plenty of options. You don't have to use Gmail, or Contacts, or it's dialer. You don't have to use Drive for your documents, PDFs, or slides. There are options in the Play Store. Stop complaining about free services and learn to use better grammar before saying how Google is obligated to provide anything to another platform. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1,000,000 Posted via the Android Central App
  • You have to use Google Docs with Google Drive to edit docs, uninstall the same and try editing! Anything on other platform??? Nothing is available other than iOS and Android! There are plenty more other platforms!
  • That is not the case. Microsoft Office and OneDrive are available for Android. OfficeSuite 8, Docs To Go, and Smart Office 2 are also available for editing documents. DropBox and Box are also available for cloud storage. Android users do not need to use Google Drive or Google Docs if they don't want to.
  • I am telling that, if I want to edit files on drive, it forces to use Google Docs. It must be viewable on other apps as well. Also these apps are pre-installed and you cannot remove same! Taking unnecessary space.
  • Yeah actually you can disable, freeze, or remove them if you know what you are doing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • @VARUNGAPTA because Google makes great products and me personally I don't want or need other services trying to adulterate what Google/Androids bring to the table. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good for you! If they keep it close, then I have no problems, but they tend to show open but yet it too close with Google everywhere.
  • One of the best articles I've read on Android Central, and I be read just about every one since late 2009. Excellent work, Phil. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's comical listening to Phil rant about how much more ethical Google is than Apple. Reminds me of a child who doesn't get his way at the candy store. They are both there to make money, and have the shareholders to prove it. I have been an Android phone user from day one but also have a Mac and Linux PC, just write about the tech Phil and stop acting so petty.
  • Phil kept it classy. Phil took a common sense approach vs Cook's conspiracy theory "Google is the evil empire" rhetoric. Not sure what agenda you pushing. Thankfully we have people like Phil who can discuss something objectively and not try to pump his readers with logic fallacy's. Thankful we have people like Phil who help people remove their ton foil hats. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed, you can speak objectively and let the words speak for themselves. I guess this article paints a picture that google truly isn't the devil, and that conspiracy theories are nothing more than theories.
  • Lol
    Please, Wake up !
    Conspiracy will live as long as 2 greedy people get together in order to gain something.
    This is not about theories, but actual acts with significant empirical evidence, but if you choose to believe in your "Infallible" Papa , go ahead - you will definitely find peace. via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • You read this as a rant? What's wrong with you? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hi, I believe you've accidentally commented on the wrong article or something. Or this article is out of context for you. You've probably not seen what iMore has been posting the past couple weeks. This is a mature, fair, and open minded response to that. IMore has been posting blatant lies and twisting information lately, and it's very sad to see it turning into that. Mobile nations is supposed to be about different platforms coming together...Renee has gone off the deep end somehow now though. I hope he is personally okay, but I also hope he re-awakes soon and remembers what Mobile Nations is supposed to be! -Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4-
  • "Give me convenience or death" is the culture that gave birth to this ever expanding monster GOOGLE - getting into all pores of our lives. Call it fatalistic or not, but the odds of reversing this machinery is extremely low via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • "...but the odds of reversing this machinery is extremely low" You can stop it dead in its tracks by simply opting out. The choice is yours. That's the point of the article.
  • Lol let's pretend that you can drop the use of the telecommunications as they are and stay functional in any form of business. It's not about social networking here, but emails, calls and all essential data that is being stored, and so on.
    They are getting out of control and no "Founder's Letter" should be taken seriously. via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • You don't have to use Google for any of that.
  • Who said that. It's not all about Google here, but where we at with all IT - Google if just the biggest animal and easiest to point at. Just like NIKE was with Sweat Shop practices. via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Write your own app that doesn't data mine. Problem solved.
  • Or perhaps build my own wireless network and internet as well.
    Good point bro, good point! via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Some things here. 1. Bashing Google's services DID NOT HAPPEN because of Edward Snowden, because the Snowden thing is going on 2 1/2 years old ... way back in January 2013. It is happening now because Tim Cook started the nonsense last year and has been ramping it up lately. 2. Why is Tim Cook doing so? Simple: because he knows that Apple will never be able to match Google on services. They've tried, but just can't do it. Whenever Apple improves their services to the point where they are somewhat competitive with what Google offers, Google improves theirs and blows it out of the water. So, Cook fights back by claiming that services are "bad" to begin with. 3. Another reason still: Google and Android took Apple's big shot, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and are still standing. 9 months after the frenzy that was the iPhone 6, we see that the market share has only dipped to 52.2%. So, people are still buying Android phones. They are still buying PREMIUM Android phones. Maybe not as many as before (i.e. Galaxy S6) but Samsung, LG, Motorola/Lenovo, new players like Asus and Huwaei are all doing fine (all except HTC that is). So now that Apple has done the biometrics thing, maxed out the "ecosystem" thing with continuity, copied Samsung and Google with bigger screens, NFC support, multi-tasking, stylus support etc. and are going to use the Fire TV and Nexus Player as their template for upgrading Apple TV, what else do they have (other than adopting more features from Android)? Not a whole lot. If they did, we'd be hearing about it. 4. And here is the deal: combine the lack of anything but iterative updates (and imitating Android products) from Apple with the resiliency of Android, and the long game is in Android's corner. Why? Because Google has proven that A) they can not only outperform Apple on the services that make smartphones worth owning anyway but B) they can use their services to replicate or surpass what Apple offers in their hardware. Take (for example) Android Pay. Granted, Apple had a great hardware implementation for Apple Pay. It took Google LESS THAN A YEAR to implement a lot of those same features in software AND add an API layer that will allow third parties to use Android Pay to sell products on their websites (a feature that Apple will never be able to match unless they buy a company to do it for them, just as they bought a cloud company so that they can actually begin offering cloud products. Right now, smartphones are still a new, exciting product like everything from VCRs to PCs were when they first came out (as well as the Internet hype). But when things settle down and smartphones go from being status symbols and conversation starters to just everyday products, folks are going to wonder why they are paying $700 for those things. It happened before: PCs - not just the Apple computers but also the IBM ones - cost an arm and a leg when they were new ... as much as a compact car. (Even the fake PCs like the Commodore and Texas instruments ones were expensive.) But before long you were able to get a good PC for a few hundred dollars, and when that happened Apple's market share plummeted. Even today, with all the problems that Microsoft and the PC makers are experiencing, competing with Apple on one end and Chromebooks on the other, Apple has less than 20% of the PC market share, and usually around 15%. If it weren't for Windows 8 being a hot mess and iPhones and tablets basically replacing laptops for most people, their market share would be a lot lower. So 5-10 years from now (when another product will be "the next big thing" and set the world on fire) people are going to go to an electronics store or online, decide between an iPhone 6 Plus for $700 or an Asus Zenfone 2 that does the same thing for $200 (actually, it will do more because it will run Google's outstanding services) and what will they do? They will buy the Zenfone 2 and save that $500 for a down payment on a hoverboard (commute to work without producing greenhouse cases!) or something. The Apple fans know this ... they are talking about how Android is becoming a "commodity product." That is not what is happening. Instead, SMARTPHONES are going to be a commodity product, just like TVs, VCRs, Blu-ray players, microwaves etc. and the companies that make them are still going to make a ton of money. As will the companies that make software and services for them, with Google being one of the better ones. (Not the only one but one of the better ones.) By scaring people, Tim Cook is trying to stave off the inevitable, and the bloggers like people at iMore are doing their part. But it is no less inevitable. So sure, Cook and his cohorts will do their best to convince you that smartphones shouldn't be regular consumer products because security. But just like the fearmongering that Cook and company were indulging in before switching to the security and "you are the product" line, the alleged "Android is getting hammered with malware and if you buy an Android phone or tablet you will get hammered with viruses, Trojans and worms like a 2002 Windows laptop!" after a couple of years when people see almost no actual negative consequences to letting Google collect their data (or no difference between Google collecting your data on an Android device and Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, HBO etc. collect your data on an Apple device) it will all blow over and what Cook really fears - a smartphone becoming just another product that only a few people will see the need to pay top dollar for - will continue its steady, inevitable march.
  • Lot's of good points here. Apple's been using the scare tactics for years. They've got it down to a science, like a lot of politicians. i remember a friend of mine who was an Apple cheerleader would send me VHS tapes of the latest Apple produced propaganda back in the mid-90s. They were always trying to tear down their competitors instead of talk up their own products. One in particular still cracks me up. They were insisting that the x86 architecture was dead and that Intel would be going away soon. PowerPC processors were the future! Of course, Apple eventually abandoned RISC processors and started using Intel chips.
  • Apple is bully, look what they have done with monster.
  • @ITProgrammer, great comment. Posted via the Android Central App
  • but...but... that would ruin the notion that the iPhone is somehow better than all other smartphones... psh. no way ;)
  • Nicely said ITprogrammer!
  • Nice article. It'as all about choice, after all. human beings aren't one and the same
  • "Remember that. Why does Google continue to make it's services available on other platforms? See above. " -- Haha, what did you just say? Other platforms? Then why Google Hangouts is not available on the Windows Phone 8/8.1? Why Google Maps is not available on Windows Phone 8/8.1? Why there is no official Gmail app on Windows Phone 8/8.1? Or how about Google Docs apps on Windows Phone 8/8.1 that are non-existent? The list can go on! Other platforms, you say? You mean, Android and iOS right? Google is as "open" to other platforms as the Inquisition was "nice" to people that said "Earth is a round object" -- the torches and firewood were quick to light! Open. Wow! haha!
  • Windows is not a profitable OS to develop for. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Between "profitable" and "we won't develop for Windows Phone because it's developed by Microsoft" the line is very thin. And it's pretty obvious why Google is not crossing it. It's not even crossing it, it prohibits anyone from crossing it! By developing for Google Android only, and a bit for iOS, guess who is the winner? Not Microsoft, for sure. Actually today Microsoft is much more open than Google. And "Do no evil!" is a thing of the past -- Google has long forgotten this phrase and what is meant... "not a profitable OS to develop for" -- if you on purpose do not offer any apps for this platform and if you make so that no one else can offer good apps for this platform... then guess why it's not profitable? Microsoft right now allows many of its apps and services to be used on both Android and iOS, and in any browser. Google allows its apps to be used on Android and iOS only, but not on Windows Phone. Who is the evil guy and who is the nice guy? In the past, we said Microsoft is evil because every Windows PC had IE6 installed on it by default. Today, when Google is the almost only search engine that exist and that to use Google Hangouts or Maps or Docs and so on, you must have either Google Chrome or an Android device, we say "Google are nice! Google are open! Google are cool" but we only repeat a stupid lie that Google is asking us to repeat....
  • You misspelled openness...it's d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n.
  • Why should Google expend effort so that Microsoft employees can use their services? That's the only people I see with Windows phones.
  • Well I have WP. Many other I have seen with! What's the problem if MS ppl use there service?
    Din't they use Windows for developing there products?
    Don't they benefit from Windows? Do not Windows PC users use Google!
    How far have they have reached with there Google Chrome OS? Android would be nothing without SAMSUNG! They themselves are having losses with Android! Yet they are developing it!
  • 3%
  • LOL... ur just stuck on that number!
  • Seriously? After Microsoft has repeatedly championed the largest campaigns against Google over the past 5 years, tried to leech off of Google by attempting to release their own reverse engineered YouTube  app to swipe Google's metadata, and you want to champion only very recent forays into cross platform support by MSFT as somehow being benevolence? PUHLEAZE! 
  • Exactly! "Scroogled", anyone? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Fantastic comment and great point! -Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4-
  • Windows Phone has what market share again?
  • Yeah, you put the money time and resources into making an app for a platform with less than 3% market share. From a business standpoint, it makes NO sense.
  • This is what I call a thought out article. Something a certain someone seems to have lost since he has become apples warrior to defend it from all. Nice to see you actually use his own articles against him and mention the TOS where it shows all 3 do pretty much the same. Funny thing about Mr apple is that he only likes something when apple do it but the moment they are beat or its a advantage of another company he hates it. I remember making calls on the original galaxy gear was stupid and Samsung was making a watch do to much but now it's amazing that the apple watch can take and make calls and that it is like a whole smartphone on a wrist. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apple Google Microsoft. They aren't at all different, their game is profit after all they aren't entities with feelings, they are corporations that are in for the money and would do just anything to achieve that. This NSA and data mining has been going on for decades now. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 2013
  • I say this as an all-in Apple user at this point and a constant reader of both iMore and Android Central: great take, Phil. I like Rene and the crew over there but this is getting to be a bit much.
  • When is the Phil and René pod happening? Would love to hear from you both. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have been asking for this for a while. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Please Phil, make this happen if Rene is up to it. No bashing, just mature discussion. Hopefully Rene can explain why he's turning iMore into the atrocious mess it is becoming... -Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4-
  • Rock on Phil!
  • So if I understand correctly, Google offers something for free, as in doesn't cost you (us) any actual coin from our pockets, but we do give them another currency in exchange called information. From the beginning Google has made that abundantly clear, I know they mine my email, searches, chats what have you and honestly I never concerned myself about that . . . for one good reason. Privacy is DEAD. You cannot do anything, say anything, go anywhere today without being seen on camera, being overheard by a microphone on a mobile, or worse yet the FBI, DEA surveillance planes and of course the NSA knows what I have been surfing. I don't care for the last few since they are an actual intrusion in my life since I neither gave them implied or express permission to track me. So apple is ticked off that Google makes its mountain of money off of search, ads, and overall knowledge. Apple makes its money off of overpriced hardware (I do own a lot of apple gear, just NOT an iPhone - Galaxy S6 FTW). That said "IF" Apple bothered to offer products on competing platforms like their creative apps say on Windows or allowed you to easily use iCloud mail etc on an Android phone then perhaps I would give it a try, but I won't. Google offers something to me that no one else does, a single way to integrate all of my life easily and quickly on any platform for FREE. Mail, Calendar, Search, Photo's, Music, Cloud Storage (you can get even more storage for cheap $2 gets you 100GB a month that is cheap). So I say FREE is good, FREE is king and apple doesn't like free or reduced prices and they do like hoarding their tax free cash overseas too. So I say this, if you are concerned about your privacy, don't like free then you can easily and happily purchase paid services, or not.
  • The point is google have superior services that provides quality user experiences compared with the competitor, on the other note if the service is free but the quality is low, mind you people will not use google products.
  • I use and very much enjoy just about every Google app available, to me they are the very best. I use them in both my iphone and Android devices. My iphone would be useless to me without the google apps. How can you have a smartphone without using smart apps. Can you imagine not having Google Search, Voice, Maps, YouTube, Drive, Music, Books, GMail, Chrome, ChromeCast and Google Now. I use all of these and more on my devices. Smartphones woulde be very dumb IMO without Google Apps.
  • This editorial is much more balanced and logical than the FUD that Rene and Serenity are throwing around at iMore. Of course, it's all about the clicks though. FUD pieces get a lot more attention. It's ironic, though, because Rene rails so much against Apple FUD articles written by other publications, calling it bad journalism.
  • I wish this article could be posted on iMore. Really balanced and insightful. Posted via Android Central App
  • I wish WWDC was not yesterday so Rene would have read this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well said! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hard to take the whole privacy/data lecture seriously from a company that was in the midst of one of the most scandalous data breaches in 2014... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Absolutely the BEST article ever written on this topic. Fair, balanced, and mature. I don't know what has happened to Rene lately but the articles he is pumping out are an embarrassment to Mobile Nations as a whole. Perhaps in the near future, he'll be stepping away from iMore and mobile nations and instead starting something of his own; that's my prediction, because it's COMPLETELY obvious now that he has strayed from both Dieter Bohn's vision and Kevin Michaluk's vision of Mobile Nations. -Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4-
  • I don't know what vision Dieter Bohn had while here at AC, but I can tell you he is now Google-basher-in-chief at iVerge.
  • If Apple wants to market itself as this champion of mobile security, fine. But before doing that, methinks it should fix the iMessage bug, that is already several weeks old, and is causing grief to many iPhone users. For reference, Microsoft discovered a similar bug in Skype last week, and it fixed it in less than 24h; that's how a real security-conscious company behaves.
  • I find it somewhat ironic that Apple is preaching security and privacy so much lately when it was their lack of security which lead to the leak of so many celebrity photos last year with the iCloud incident. I'd say that perhaps this change of heart that they are having is a good thing. However, if they were truly concerned with security, they would have patched the issues that are affecting iOS by now as you have pointed out. Sad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, I love my Moto G, but even I see that Google sells people out. Same as Facebook, MS, Apple and so on.
  • Fantastic article. Very well written! The industry needs more of this type of journalism. The incessant fanboyism that seems to plague this industry has grown very old. Thank you for taking the time to write this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for attempting to approach the subject in a balanced way. It is refreshing to see you take the high road, even though it's not really expected of you, as editor of Android Central. I wish more tech writers would approach their subject in this way. You lead by example, and I appreciate it.
  • I might agree with this, if there was any way to verify that companies adhered to things like the Founder's Letter. How would we know if they don't? Collating data profiles and telling people what they want to hear ("targeted search results") can turn into manipulation so very easily. Where is the line between finding the best audience for an ad campaign and convincing people that the Verizon Edge plan would be the best move, even if it would actually cost them hundreds? Or the government slanting search results for or against certain topics? It's not always whether you have something to hide, it can be whether you're really thinking for yourself (imagine if swing voters always got 80% negative results for presidential candidate X). As far as being tracked through other sources, there's a reason I pay cash a lot and have a phone with a removable battery. And before you tell me to take off the tinfoil hat, some of us have reason to fear anyone knowing where we are. For three years I expected to hear a gunshot every time I stepped outside because the voices in my ex's head started telling him to kill me. Online services are continually linking and making it more and more difficult to have an online persona that's separate from your real-life self. Most if not all of the major email providers now require a phone number or a secondary email address to create an account and a lot of them are starting to block the disposable email providers. This can be a serious problem for an abused or LGBT kid, a battered spouse, etc. TL;DR While Apple and Rene are being ridiculous, online privacy concerns aren't always "ZOMG teh evul Googlz r watchin mee!"
  • Every single one of my friends either have an iphone 5 or 5s and I want to group chat with them(texting). They keep telling me that iphone 5 and 5s's can't have a group chat with each other. If any one knows this is true please tell me.
  • Thank you very much for such an interesting article like this. As an Android user I love Google services on daily basis. Tried Apple OS aware of the stupid limitations it imposes on it's users + selling a Chinese phone that cost under $ 200.00, sold it for over $ 600.00, just 1 phone with 2 sizes lol.... But it's not worth.
    I'm not worried about what the Mountain View Company can do with my personal data (they won't post it on Facebook wall or sell your grandma's credit card on the black market.They can place ads of course, targeted ads but I decide when and how I make an online purchase. Tech companies can handle as much data as you give them...is up to you As long as you own a smartphone or tablet, pc, you have a digital life. The NSA program along w/the IRS spoofs on everyone. Even Law enforcement used the face recognition surveillance back in the Superbowl 2001!!!! So the better way of no having a digital life if you prefer, is not to own any smartphone, no pc, nor a tablet. Yeah live like in 1950's with a home phone, no internet, no banking.... a simple life...
  • Yes yes and fuck yeah thank you. I'm going with marshmallow via AC app.