The Two Faces of Google
I was watching "Say hello to the new Google Pay" to see what all the hype was about. At the end I concluded it’s Google attempt to be WePay for the Western world.
From an investor point a view, this looks to be a great and very lucrative idea.
But when they said their goal was to be helpful, I was once again reminded of how "helpful" they've been over the past few years... Or at least since Larry stepped down and they changed the slogan from "don't be evil" to "do the right thing".
But I've been wondering, for whom are they doing the right thing for?
From my perspective, ever since the founders left and Mr. Pichai took over (2015), Google has cutting down on unprofitable moonshots and focusing more on how to make more money.
Or rather, it has gone from "exploring to exploiting"... while still trying to project a do-gooder image. In fact, its About Us, Philosophy page hasn't been updated to apply to anything other than ads and still says don't be evil (#6).
We all know that Google owns Android but has had it's own phones for awhile now (2016 to be exact).
Its phones though hardware wise, have always been inferior to others at the same price point. I bought a OnePlus 6 three years ago and compared to the Pixel 5 released this year, other than maybe the camera and 5G, it's better... And cheaper.
So how is its phones able to compete? The dirty secret that only technical people know, is that it enables some features in Android on only it's devices and a few partners... even though other phones are perfectly capable of handling them.
Google has also, at least since with Daydream (2016), given it's apps like Maps, Live Transcribe, etc preferential treatment. Access to functions and features of Android unavailable to everyone else... Unless it says so.
The latest feature, and the one I'm particularly angry about is, Live Captions. You see, I'm deaf so I was really excited when it was announced as a feature of Android 10. But it turned out, like Daydream, to be only available on Pixel and a few other devices.
If this isn't abuse of power, to consumers' detriment, anticompetitive practices, and a clear contradiction to the core values it professes to have, then what is?
P.S. you may say that only certain devices have the hardware to support these features but I can say that's not true. All you have to do is root your device so that you can trick Android to think it's running on a Pixel phone.
I don't recommend you do it was it will void warranties, comes with other risks, and breaks certain apps for valid reasons...
But what's the alternative... Other than buying a new phone?
P.P.S Just read an article today about how Google fired an ethical AI researcher too…