My New Year's resolution for TiPb is to be nicer to Google in 2011. Last year was an amazing year for the world's largest, most powerful internet company. Thanks to relentless software improvement, Verizon's Droid marketing, and top-of-the-line hardware like the Galaxy S, Google's Android OS became the fastest accelerating platform in the mobile space. They also unleashed improvements to Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, YouTube, and so many other already excellent services at a speed and quality level that, frankly, no other company could have matched.
But it was a tough year as well. They were hurt by their handling of China, by the privacy-shredding launch of Buzz and the aborted Wave. They raised privacy and legal concerns by collecting Wi-Fi data, and they left a segment of their userbase feeling betrayed by throwing in with
the devil Verizon and abandoning key parts of their previously staunch net neutrality support, and by letting carriers frak up key parts of the Android user experience just to gain market traction.
The whole "don't be evil" thing took a huge ding in 2010. However, while Google is certainly responsible for their own actions, we users are responsible for our expectation. There's no such thing as a free lunch, or free internet services. We pay with cash or we pay with our personal data. And the truth is Google is a for-profit corporation and not a person. It lacks the agency to be either good or evil. I've joked about this riff on Arthur C. Clack before but I continually find it to be more and more true -- any corporation sufficiently large is indistinguishable from evil. As they seek to grow shareholder value and increase future business their goals will always come into conflict with some portion or another of their user base. (See a CounterNotations for an excellent summary of how and why Apple and Google differ in their evil.)
As impossible as it may be to believe, some of us here on TiPb get accused of bashing Google and their Android OS. Truth be told, most of us are huge Google users. While Apple is our hardware, Google is our service. We couldn't run TiPb without Google. We're almost as deeply invested in it as Android Central, we just run it on iPhones, iPod touch, and iPads instead of Motorolas, Samsungs, and HTCs. We don't run Android but we sure run Gmail, Google Maps, Google Voice, Google Calendar, YouTube, and all the rest.
When Apple disappoints us with their own China factory scandals, antenna problems, or the inability to produce white phones, with disallowing apps we want or not providing functionality as fast as we want it, they make us just as sad as Google does when we face the issues mentioned above. (And yeah, we get accused of hating on Apple almost as much as Google.)
But it's because we've come to expect a lot from these companies. Maybe too much at times.
We'll still be covering the competitive aspects of Google and Android, Microsoft and Windows Phone, RIM and BlackBerry, HP/Palm and webOS, and Nokia and Symbia/MeeGo here on TiPb, sometimes with appreciation, sometimes in jealously, often with humor and touch of sarcasm. It's impossible to avoid. Google is just getting into so many of what are Apple's key businesses, from phones to tablets to operating systems to music services to set top boxes and the list goes on and on (and is growing all the time!). But we'll aim to be nicer about it. Especially Google (cause they're reading our email and will know if we aren't!)
(That last part was a joke.)