Sundar Pichai – you will hear that name a lot this week – as head of our favorite Android Operating System and Chrome divisions of Google, he will take center stage as the keynote speaker at the annual Google I/O conference this Wednesday and Thursday in San Francisco, where over 6,000 media members and developers will hear about what Google has planned. He spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek's Brad Stone in an exclusive series of interviews and we will highlight some of their discussions.
Let's talk Apple – at Apple's Worldwide Developers conference, Tim Cook claimed that most users are running an "ancient" version of Android and therefore do not have the newest features. Sundar pointed out that Apple only makes two devices and that Android has many different manufactures from all over the world selling different devices. While Apple announced many great things at their keynote – third party keyboards, widgets and richer notifications – Android has had those for years, so that even the older model Android devices are already using those features. Sundar also pointed out that they ship a new version of Google Play Services every six weeks and that about 90-percent of the users are on that.
Cook also claims that there are many Android users are jumping ship to the Apple platform. Sundar said that from all of the data he has seen, Android is being adopted at a faster rate than any other operating system, including iOS. Sundar said it is Apple's show and you have to understand it is only that…a show. He compared Apple and Google as dictator versus democracy – while an opinionated dictator may get things done with less hassle, and the democratic way may take longer, but in the long run, it is a better way to go.
Sundar was asked if would like to comment on a remark made by Tim Cook when he said Android is a "toxic hell stew of vulnerabilities." Sundar said that when you make a $100,000 Mercedes that you shouldn't look down at the rest of the automotive world and make comments about it. Google makes a product for the very poor to the very rich and everybody in between. Of course malware is going to target the most popular and widespread operating system, but that Google and Android take security very seriously and protects the consumers with several steps to avoid malware.
While China is a huge and growing market for Android, the Chinese government will not allow many of the Google services in their country, such as Maps and the Google Play Store. Sundar was asked if there a way for you to 'fix' that? Sundar feels that the many users in China are losing out by not using the Google Play Store and because of this there is more malware in China – and many of the figures that Tim Cook grabs are from the China market and does not truly represent Android as a whole.
Sundar did say that they would be talking more about Android TV and how Google TV's failure led them to develop Chromecast. He views the TV industry much like a fragmented operating system with each manufacturer doing their own thing. With Google TV they can add a single platform so if you buy content from your TV, you will be able to use it on a tablet or smartphone as well…it will work across all of your devices.
When asked about Samsung's Tizen, Sundar said it is simply another choice for people to make – we just have to make sure that Android is a better choice. When asked if the new Amazon Fire Phone would hurt Android, he said that Android was designed to be very open, and when a company takes it and does something different, that innovation is good for the ecosystem. He said they do wish it was more consistent for the developers.
This year's Google I/O should be very interesting and you can read the entire interview by pressing on the Bloomberg link. Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you hope to see happen at the conference this year…as always, we would love to hear from you.