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Google Reportedly Wanting More Google-iness on Android Smartphones

September 26, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

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There’s a new report coming out of The Information this morning stating that Google has massively updated the agreement that manufacturers must sign to use Google services on their devices. This is known as the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement or MADA. Manufacturers haven’t said they are upset or happy about these changes, but they have acknowledged that there are big changes ahead.

The report is stating that pre-installed Google apps may be increasing by as much as 20. And Google wants them on the home screen. With the Play Store front and center, and all other apps in a folder. Which is actually how the Moto X is when you unbox it. They also must have the Google search box on the home screen and have “OK Google” as a hotword by default. Now Motorola has done this with the Moto X for a couple years now, and now you can customize that hotword. So it’ll be interesting to see if that changes soon.

Google is also wanting manufacturers to allow users to swipe up from the home button to get to Google Now. This has been possible with softkeys for a while, but Google is making this mandatory for hardware buttons as well. Additionally, Manufacturers must have either the Google Trademark or show that it’s running Android (i.e. Powered by Android) in the boot screen. One more thing. If manufacturers want a cut of revenue from the Play Store and Search then they have to keep competing services like Bing, and Amazon’s App Store off of the phone. It’s being reported that not all manufacturers have this in their agreement, but the bigger ones like Samsung does.

While this may seem like Google is trying to tighten up everything, which they are. I see it more as Google trying to make a cohesive ecosystem here no matter what device you buy. Whether it’s a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, or a HTC One M8, or a Moto X.