A few years back I pretty much moved all of my online resources to Google’s version of that product. First I started with Google Play Music and uploading all of my pirated music to their cloud and enjoying it wherever. Which lead me to eventually paying for the music service so I didn’t have to spend so much time trying to steal whatever new album I was after. Then came Google Drive with the ability to offload all of my college documents and files which allowed me to effectively ditch flash drives for the most part. Next I installed Google Chrome on every machine I own due to the fact that it synched easily together. When it came time to get my life in check I switched from not using a calendar at all to Google Calendar. There’s a theme here if you didn’t notice, Google has helped me manage every part of my digital life
The entire time I was playing with different cloud services I was using an Android phone which the functionality of those apps would increase heavily over time and turn me into a major fanboy. However, this is now starting to change with the way Google is becoming a larger mega-corporation instead of being a company full of nerds who want to make the world a better place. First off, Messaging on Android is well, garbage. And I can say that after spending plenty of money on texting apps to make it better. Especially when Hangouts was supposed to be the answer to iMessage when in reality it was only useful if you had a Gmail. Albeit, iMessage isn’t exactly the best answer in the world besides it actually works. It may be a little ugly but it works ten times better than Android messaging, which it then includes SMS, MMS, and an IP Messaging Client all in one. If you have an iDevice then it diverts to IP Messaging and gives you more features. If you’re not then it goes with simple SMS/MMS to make sure that whatever it does is still compatible with the other device.
Instead with owning a good portion of every flagship phone that’s come out within the past couple of years, messaging is basically split up into two different apps on each Android phone. The reason why Apple went away from this is to make it simpler for the user while still being robust enough to get by. Meanwhile, everyone I know has some form of text messaging app and then something secondary like Facebook Messenger to make up the difference. The other portion of Android that absolutely drives me insane is the fact that all these OEM’s let Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile put all kinds of crap on their phones just to make a quick buck. The only thing actually useful out of the bunch is the “My Account” app. Or if you’re one of my customers at work and you never back anything up then the Verizon Cloud app sneakily does it for you unless you turn it off. I love that feature but it shouldn’t be snooping through your phone backing things up unless you ask it to. Which brings me back to my main point, why can’t Google just do what Apple does and say no? Why do I have to delete fifteen apps from my phone every time I buy one unless it’s a device directly from Google? The problem does lie more with OEM’s and them wanting to include “features” that someone else does not. As a consumer I said no more and bought a Pixel XL. I loved that phone, but it’s obvious that when someone else releases a phone Google gets left in the dust.
Apple upgrades their Software all at once which is pretty wonderful. Again, I think its a little half heartedly since some of the older phones don’t get all of the new features. However, all of the new apps have the ability to be installed which is a nice little perk for those of us holding onto their older phones for some reason. With the age of planned obsolescence and software fragmentation Samsung, HTC, LG, and the thirty other companies that make up Android phones make this process so much harder than it has to be. But Google is partially to blame, when they had the chance to make Android an OS that others cannot modify they left it open. This is a fundamental pillar of how Android works. Open Source is truely a great thing, but should really not be open for phones unless its for the enthusiast crowd. Or rather just give us the option. For normal consumers make it closed, then for the nerds in the audience give them the keys to all the doors and let them enjoy their software bliss. It would be tough now to turn Android into an iOS clone. Unfortunately the market has backed itself into this corner that drives me up a wall. iOS has limited functionality outside its own products while Android has limitless functionality but is broken in some way and a work around is required. The two different platforms do not get along well unless you use some form of cloud based app that you can just log into.
Another problem we face as consumers is that Google is consistently releasing new products, ideas, apps and then decides to not support it after long. I’m one of the few who embrace new technology every time it comes out. But when you release Google On Hub, then basically kill it to create Google Wifi that was better then turns out not to be. It’s tough to really support them when they hype apps like Allo and Duo then don’t release them for months on end. Then when we get them they do one thing really well which in a world that has many apps that do that same thing very well then what’s the point? I get frustrated with the lack of drive towards making the best product possible and then supporting the hell out of it. Instead we get these half-baked products that if you buy them then you become the Beta Tester. Who wants that? I surely don’t mind for some of the really new stuff they put out. If they would release that stuff first for free with an Open Beta then maybe we could have fully fledged products on the store shelves instead leaving me feeling like I just spent a bunch of money to be a guinea pig. It wouldn’t even be hard for them to do since thousands of people sign up for Beta’s of Android as well as other experimental software. Just going to leave that there to stew for a minute.
And like that this little piece of my mind has gone on far enough for the moment. I’ll make sure to revisit it later when I can actually make a valid point with my writing instead of rambling about one idea and jumping to another. I’m not defecting to Apple or calling them better than Google. We don’t need a war on the internet, there’s great things about both platforms. But for someone who always sneered at the “tainted fruit”, their ability to make their products work cohesively and without effort is a little refreshing. The walled garden that everyone talks about is a little annoying, then again I’m an “outsider”. Also, I’m probably a little tired of spending long hours making some hobbled mess of apps and hardware work together to accomplish one task. I just wish Google would get on the same page with Apple just like Microsoft is beginning to do. One can only hope for a technological future that isn’t as frustrating as it is now. Consumers, you’re our final hope…