Google loses control over Android
Verizon installs on its Android device the Bing search engine. That’s the price Google is paying for openness.
American cellular operator Verizon, one of Google’s senior partners in spreading its mobile operating system, Android, started selling the Samsung’s S Galaxy smartphone last weekend. But the coveted device arrives in Verizon with a substantial difference: Google’s search engine was not installed in the device, and instead Microsoft’s Bing was installed.
American technology blogs were surprised b the dramatic change. After all, one of the most significant features for users is of Android is Google’s search engine, who also developed Android for the same purpose – to take over the mobile search domain.
On the iPhone 4 iOS , for example, the default search engine is Google, Bing and Yahoo are offered as alternative search engines. But on Verizon’s Galaxy, Bing is the only option. Moreover, the Galaxy will not be the only Android in Verizon with Bing implemented in it – others will follow due to an agreement signed with Microsoft in late 2009. Later in the week it became apparent that in an a coming update the device will be installed with Google’s search engine, but Bing remains the default.
Allegedly, it stands in total contradiction to the openness and freedom that are the bread and butter of Android. But it is becoming apparent, that it is not about freedom from users, but the operator’s freedom to do as they wish with the devices they market. Unlike the iPhone, dominated by Apple solely, each operator can put in the Android an advertising application that cannot be removed, replace the search engine without the possibility of change, and even implement a competing application store.
In most cases these are measures that damage the users experience, but this week it became clear that Google itself is not immune. And the worst part of it – it can’t do anything about it, if it wants Verizon to continue to sell and promote Android devices. Most of them, hopefully, will contain the Google search engine. Still, even the search giant needs to make something out of the free OS it developed.