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Google Play Services Supplants Android As Google's "Platform"

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,5 hours | from the bad-problem-bad-solution dept.

Google 182

exomondo writes "Google has a plan to circumvent the problem of fragmentation of its Android operating system across the installed base by using its proprietary, closed-source Google Play Services. Play Services is a privileged service that runs on Android and provides the sort of functionality to applications that would generally be seen in operating system updates like cloud backup, remote wipe, push messaging, etc... This service can be updated silently and independently of the operating system and runs on almost every version of Android out there allowing Google to add functionality to Android devices without having to go through the OEMs so having an up-to-date version of Android is looking like less of a necessity." It might be worth noting that Google originally rejected copyleft in favor of permissive licensing in the name of giving OEMs and carriers more control over Android on their devices.

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first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#44742577)

woooo

Sand Carriers (5, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | 1 year,5 hours | (#44742597)

It might be worth noting that Google originally rejected copyleft in favor of permissive licensing in the name of giving OEM sand carriers more control over Android on their devices.

And thus /. hath bestowed upon us a new name for companies peddling crappy hardware.

Re:Sand Carriers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#44742623)

If I wanted to listen to fucking gay teenagers like you, I'd slick my hair back, put on a Macklemore t-shirt and head up to Capital Hill with a bucket of lube.

Re:Sand Carriers (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,5 hours | (#44742629)

Sand carriers always ride single file to hide their numbers

Re:Sand Carriers (1)

evilviper (135110) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742869)

However warning must be heeded. While they do startle easily, they usually come back, and in greater numbers.

Re:Sand Carriers (2)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year ago | (#44744833)

This is not the Android you are looking for.

Google Play breaks my phone with every update (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742893)

Every time Google Play Store and Google Play Services update they install as a removable update in the non-system area of my phone. The phone's memory is small - just a few hundred 185MB of user space available and I have it jam packed with apps. So every time I get an update I go from having 25MB or more to having under 12MB. The Android operating system does not like this. On my wife's phone I've had this cause a reboot cycle - I had to reset the phone to get out of it.

To make matters worse a bug (or feature - don't know if it was intended) means that updated versions of Google Play Store have not honoured the preferences for application update of user applications. So even though I've set the thing to never update, I on two occasions upon establishing a wireless connection I have had a bunch of apps update themselves with newer larger versions quicker than I could notice and shut down the phone. The end result once again is a phone with too little user memory to run. I've heard this has happened for others when not using wireless and that it has resulted in expensive data downloads.

I HATE not having control of my phone. I HATE idiotic updates that break it. I HATE Android. There's just nothing better out there. Give me back control!!!

Re:Google Play breaks my phone with every update (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743349)

The problem isn't with the service updating itself, it's with you only having 185MB of total space. Throw that ancient piece of shit away.

Re:Google Play breaks my phone with every update (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743585)

I HATE not having control of my phone.

Then choose an open phone, oh but you just want all the benefits that closed systems offer you because the open ones are shit.

Give me back control!!!

No. You arent entitled to anything. Go an contribute something to making the experience on open phones better instead of being an entitlist dipshit.

Re:Google Play breaks my phone with every update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744181)

Buy an SD card and get over yourself.

Issues (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743027)

here are a few problems: The NSA can now install software on your phone, world wide. If you don't pay Google a monthly fee all your apps and data gets lost in the cloud. They can read all your data, remotely, and give you targeted adds. You can only buy apps from them, unless they let you. Always on the network DRM.

Re:Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743451)

Except that the Google Play Remote Wipe/Find My Phone services are NOT installed by default. You'd have to go out and install the thing. I had to do this with my Galaxy Nexus.

Not to mention that you can choose any of the other Where's My Droid applications that have precisely the same (some with more) functionality.

Nice FUD article.

Re:Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744093)

Considering Google has pretty much admitted to unconditional cooperation with the NSA I think it's pretty safe to assume that the "Play" applications superuser privileges are within the NSAs grasp on any device running it and connected to a network.

I'm not faulting Google BTW, I would do the same thing if someone held a gun to my head. The government is the one breaking the social contract here.

Re:Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744189)

Cyanogenmod, motherfucker, do you speak it?

Re: Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744285)

Breaking my phone is not the answer motherfucker.

Sand Carriers (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#44742613)

What are these sand carriers and how can I get my hands on one? Is it something from Dune?

Re:Sand Carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742685)

Walk without rhythm, it won't attract the worm

Re:Sand Carriers (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742891)

Walk without rhythm, it won't attract the worm

Christopher Walken even has an instructional video courtesy of Fatboy Slim:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ7z57qrZU8 [youtube.com]

Re:Sand Carriers (2)

rossdee (243626) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742743)

Nope, its Star Wars - they don't have droids in Dune (remember they had the Butlerian Jihad)

Back to the topic...

I don't use the Google Play store - I don't have an account with Google

I get Apps from the Amazon App store - I do have an account with AMazon, and have for umpteen years.

If not YouTube (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743671)

I don't use the Google Play store - I don't have an account with Google

For people who choose not to have an account with Google, what alternative to YouTube have you found useful?

Re:If not YouTube (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#44744731)

what alternative to YouTube have you found useful?

Vimeo

Re:Sand Carriers (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742883)

What are these sand carriers and how can I get my hands on one?

I have one in my yard. It's called a wheelbarrow. So far, I've found it a bit awkward to manage my apps, but you never know...

Re:Sand Carriers (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44744463)

Guess it gives new meaning to the term "shovelware".

Posting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742637)

A "first post" and 5 posts noting that the location of a space was incorrect in the summary. What a bastion of tech and geek discussion this website is.

Re:Posting (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742715)

Grammer Nazism is a staple of geeks.

Re:Posting (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about a year ago | (#44744621)

Grammer

I like to think I'm not normally a Grammar Nazi, but that made me twitch.

DroidWall (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742643)

Fortunately, I keep "Google Play Services" cut off from the net via Droidwall. That should keep Google from fscking with the software on my phone without my review and permission.

*My* computer. *My* choice about whether to apply a software change.

Re:DroidWall (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742697)

DroidWall is dead as shit, and didn't work on my N4 on JB 4.3.

Android Firewall is a fork, free, no ads, and works good.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jtschohl.androidfirewall&hl=en

Re:DroidWall (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743015)

DroidWall is dead as shit, and didn't work on my N4 on JB 4.3.

Can't speak for shiny new phones. It works on my Epic 4G running Gingerbread. I'll keep Android FW in mind when I upgrade, though.

Re:DroidWall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744641)

DroidWall works perfectly on my N4 w/ stock 4.3. Are you sure you're rooted properly?

Re:DroidWall (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742821)

Lots of software installed via Play wont like that and refuse to run.

Re:DroidWall (3, Informative)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742919)

F-Droid [f-droid.org] has a pretty good catalog nowadays. I've eliminated everything proprietary from my phone life except for Google Maps and those pesky hardware drivers. Osmand [osmand.net] is pretty close to replacing Maps too... navigation basically works (even offline, although I've yet to try using it for more than echoing routes I already know) but POI searching is hit and miss (e.g. when searching for my bank it says the closest location is 17mi away, when there's one about 3mi away). It's actually nicer in a number of ways: maps and POI data can be stored offline (I have my entire state stored, what's 400M when you've got a 16G SD card?), you can record GPX routes (without eating tons of battery even), navigation can be simulated, it has a handy elevation and distance tool (great for biking), ...

Games on F-Droid (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743685)

F-Droid has a pretty good catalog nowadays. I've eliminated everything proprietary from my phone life except for Google Maps and those pesky hardware drivers.

Has the community figured out a business model for funding development of a video game for distribution under a license for free software and free cultural works? Or do you just choose not to play video games more complex than Solitaire?

Re:Games on F-Droid (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#44744741)

Has the community figured out a business model for funding development of a video game for distribution under a license for free software and free cultural works?

Yes, the community has figured out how to do 'Kickstarter' campaigns.

Re:DroidWall (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744565)

Osmand [osmand.net] is pretty close to replacing Maps too...

Osmand is proprietary. Trying downloading more than 10 maps (or updates!). - essential for somebody who travels. They are not upfront about this and that makes them dishonest.

Re:DroidWall (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about a year ago | (#44744633)

Osmand isn't proprietary. It does contain DRM however, which I agree is quite annoying.

Re:DroidWall (3, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742889)

I just use Airplane Mode. Nothing gets past that!

Re:DroidWall (1)

Threni (635302) | 1 year,10 minutes | (#44744021)

Uhh.. apart from all data sent and received over WiFi.

Re:DroidWall (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about a year ago | (#44744657)

Airplane mode shuts down ALL communication, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and of course the radio that talks to the cell towers.

Re:DroidWall (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742895)

I've never used Droidwall, but you can block Google with just a few entries in your /etc/hosts file (just like on any other Linux box) just as easily, and without having to run any other services.

Re:DroidWall (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743131)

HOSTS FILES FTW!!!!!

Re:DroidWall (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#44744479)

HOSTS FILES FTW!!!!!

We finally know what account apk logs in under.

Re:DroidWall (4, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | about a year ago | (#44744199)

I really don't get all the hate on this service. It is better than the alternative; devices that are never updated because carriers and manufacturers would rather you go out and buy more hardware every year. This happened to my Droid (Verizon) and Transformer (ASUS), after a single update, they never received even a modicum of support again.

Oh no, Android is slightly more useful, at the cost of carriers and manufactures... must be a terrible plot.

I understand wanting control, but sadly mobile devices have moved way beyond that. You can't control your hardware nor, really, your software. They aren't desktop computers... Sadly. I would kill for upgradable mobile devices, so I don't have to toss them every year. I find disposable hardware to be a bit vulgar. Then add in the fact, that sans rooting (if possible) that your device will never, ever, see an upgrade. So to get more functions, and security, you need to go shell out $300+ for a new device. If you're not on a contract, then you might just be screwed.

I'm also happy that Google recognizes, finally, fragmentation.

Re:DroidWall (3, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#44744735)

Fortunately, I keep "Google Play Services" cut off from the net via Droidwall.

Droidwall requires root access. This is not usable for the majority and therefore I feel that this should not be considered helpful advice but instead, 'gloating'.

Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacturers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742645)

The manufacturers and carriers have ZERO interest in supporting devices after the ink is dried on the contract. The manufacturers want to be apple and sell a new phone every time the O/S gets even the most basic of incremental improvements to functionality. The carriers are right there with a fresh contract extension and a kriss bladed knife ready to seal the deal in blood.

The rooting community is the only group actively supporting devices. Google on the other hand has almost zero stake in contracts or hardware sales. Their profitability is tied to the services and ad revenue which comes with loyal devotion to their brand's ecosystem. The same brand that the carriers and manufacturers are more than happy to piss and shit on with their stupid & unwanted modifications from the stock Google release.

Samsung is the only manufacturer that doesn't have their head up their ass which is why the Galaxy S is on version 4 instead of these retarded Beta releases from every other manufacturer which get aborted as a brand out of shame and distrust like Diebold/Blackwater/Xe/Academi.

HTC is currently the only brand I'm willing to buy because unlike Samsung, they have figured out that locked boot-loaders are bad for business.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742657)

HTC is currently the only brand I'm willing to buy because unlike Samsung, they have figured out that locked boot-loaders are bad for business.

Yeah HTC's profits are plunging while Samsung's are soaring, locked boot loaders are *so* bad for business.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742677)

A good chess player can still win against a weak opponent despite letting them take their queen. That doesn't mean that playing without a queen is a good strategic decision.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742737)

The manufacturers want to be apple and sell a new phone every time the O/S gets even the most basic of incremental improvements to functionality.

How exactly is that being like Apple other than in your invented version of reality? The iPhone 4 was discontinued October of 2011 and is slated to also get iOS 7 coming out later this year. The 3GS got discontinued in September of last year it still received iOS updates to 6.1.3 from last March. The 3G was discontinued in June 2010 yet continued receiving iOS updates until November of 2010. And the original iPhone was discontinued July 2008 and still received iOS updates until February of 2010.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (1)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742751)

And, yes, the iPhone 4 and 4S will not get all features of iOS 7 but they are still getting a large portion of it along with the security fixes.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (2)

jrumney (197329) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743041)

The iPhone 4 was discontinued October of 2011...

The 8GB iPhone 4 is still in production (rumored to be replaced at the bottom end soon by the iPhone 5C). Only the 16GB and 32GB versions were discontinued to make way for the 4S. Apple has consistently released major OS upgrades only for models that are current on the day of the announcement (including models that are discontinued as of that same date due to simultaneous new product announcements). Ask any iPhone 3G user that upgraded to iOS 5 whether they think this is a good or bad thing.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743163)

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4335148?start=0&tstart=0

"The manufacturers want to be apple and sell a new phone every time there is the most basic of incremental improvements to functionality."

FTFY

I can't tell the difference between an iPhone 3G and an iPhone 5 was my point. Cue the Galaxy SIII commercials. I'm sure to your discerning eye the differences are obvious and well worth the purchase price. I'm glad you're happy. I'm sure by version 8 you'll get shit like facial recognition unlock and eye tracking. Personally, I'll be sipping on cutting edge in Google-land. You can probably find it on Apple Maps if you drive to Hawaii first.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743511)

Don't forget to include the differences between the Galaxy S1/2/3 and an S4 is:
Infrared blaster
NFC support / S Beam / Android Beam
Visa PayWave compatible (yes, you can use it as a credit card)
One touch pairing (BT, wifi)
Group Play / Media sharing
S Health support
Hand-side detection (you swipe the side of your hand over the screen to take a screenshot and not some arcane key combination)
Air Gesture (you don't actually have to touch the screen, for when your hands are dirty and whatever you want to do isn't supported by voice commands)
Burst fire camera

My Sony RX100 / Playmemories transfers images and engages the remote viewfinder between camera and phone with one touch.

Meanwhile, iUsers have to:
0) If you haven't installed PlayMemories, go to the store. Search for playmemories, hit install.
1) If you're already connected to an access point, hit settings, hit wifi, hit disconnect (however you do it).
2) If you haven't set up the wifi access point on your phone yet, you'll have to do that. Hit Settings, hit wifi, hit the entry after doing #3
3) On camera, hit menu, scroll to Transfer page, hit "Transfer to Smartphone"
4) If you did step 2, enter the randomly generated password without making a mistake.
5) Hit home, scroll to where ever you put the PlayMemories app. Click on it.
6) DONE!

For me: ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hyqmWX3aLc )
1) If I haven't installed PlayMemories, just touch the phone and camera together. It opens the Play Store to the Playmemories app. One button to press: Hit install.
2-5) Touch the two devices together.
6) DONE!

OMG SO EASY...

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (1)

Pi1grim (1956208) | about a year ago | (#44744341)

Visa PayWave is based on NFC, so, basically any phone with it will work, same for "one touch pairing".
"Burst fire" for cam is purely software feature.
Take a look at Nexus 4, then back at your G4, then again at Nexus 4, then look at the price of Nexus 4, then at the price of your G4, then go in the corner and wheep. On the way there you might buy an aftermarket Qi charging coil for your G4.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743679)

He didn't say anything about how Apple supports their devices, just that manufacturers and carriers want to sell devices as much as Apple does. He then notes that but they want to do it without having to upgrade the older ones. I think you're being a bit defensive there bud. The only misconception of reality here is in what you think he said. Apple's support of older devices is great. Google's is getting much better, especially given the logistical challenges of Android. (This is the whole point of the article). It's other manufacturers and carriers that are terrible.

iPod touch 4 (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743721)

The iPhone 4 was discontinued October of 2011 and is slated to also get iOS 7 coming out later this year.

The fourth-generation iPod touch was discontinued a year later, in October 2012, and isn't getting iOS 7. This means that for example, someone who bought an iPod touch a year ago won't be able to use a game controller, as game controller support is new in iOS 7.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (2)

niftymitch (1625721) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742815)

.....

Samsung is the only manufacturer that doesn't have their head up their

Well they are not keeping up. I have wonderful phone from Samsung
and the base OS is locked at old and musty. Worse the graphics code
does not take advantage of the graphics hardware as it should.

One of the critical buggers in phone land is the big system lump upgrade.
The Android team apparently elected to structure things to exclude modest updates
and fail to establish a path for trusted updates.

But this stuff is all new. A couple turns of the crank and good things are possible.

Cell phone companies not so much (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742851)

they'd like you to keep your phone, thank you very much. Even at $600 bucks some of them still have a subsidy.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742973)

HTC is currently the only brand I'm willing to buy because unlike Samsung, they have figured out that locked boot-loaders are bad for business.

It is one thing or another with these vendors.

I would have an HTC one right now but the friggen battery can't be changed and I refuse to be at the mercy of battery gods/planned obsolesence.

You can get a cool new device with lots of features except the loader is locked, or it is unlocked and does not support US LTE frequencies or the battery is non-removable or it does not have SD slot.

I won't even consider a device where cyanogen can't be installed and google play is totally out of the question.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (2)

petman (619526) | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743357)

HTC is currently the only brand I'm willing to buy because unlike Samsung, they have figured out that locked boot-loaders are bad for business.

Non-carrier branded Samsung phones don't have locked bootloaders.

Re:Anything that bypasses the carriers/manufacture (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44744685)

HTC also didn't really "figure it out". About 40000 people posted complaints on their FaceBook page.

Play Services is the "Value Add" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742655)

After the raw OS, Google needs to have something unique/proprietary to offer users. That's all the google play interconnected stuff... The Google-specific stuff is... in the Gapps. It makes sense... that's where Google's ecosystem integrates with the OS.

Nearly everything that can be moved out of the main OS has been.

That's not exactly true-- try running a Cyanogenmod build sometime without Gapps. It still works well-- just as you'd expect, you don't have the Google-related things, but there is a non-branded browser, and it's still a very usable device. But yeah, you don't get the benefits (or risks, depending on your POV) of using Google's services.

Still, it's an interesting theory that the OS work is basically done now so new feature work is going to be piled over google services/gapps. I suspect it's a bit overstated as I'd think there is plenty of platform/OS-level and basic framework improvements still to do. Many of the UI advances in the Google services have been built in tandem with corresponding framework development (though much of it is backported all the way to v4),

Re:Play Services is the "Value Add" (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742801)

That's not exactly true-- try running a Cyanogenmod build sometime without Gapps. It still works well-- just as you'd expect, you don't have the Google-related things, but there is a non-branded browser, and it's still a very usable device.

and what happens when developers start taking advantage of new features from Play Services? Android itself will stagnate and the only viable way for consumers to go will be Google's proprietary, closed Android distribution. Sure the underlying OS is open much like Darwin is on OSX but all the real useful bits that make it what it is are in a closed source layer.

Re:Play Services is the "Value Add" (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742989)

I just did that in fact. I'm not sure what I'm missing out on by having not installed Gapps. No Google+?

Pay to the order of (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743743)

I'm not sure what I'm missing out on by having not installed Gapps.

If your bank makes its check/cheque deposit application for Android available only on Google Play Store, not on Amazon or direct APK download, you'll have to take the bus to the ATM to deposit a payment that you receive from a relative.

Re:Play Services is the "Value Add" (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743771)

The biggest one is Maps the v2 (Android) Google Maps API is part of Google Play services. (What 3rd party devs use).

Anyways, there is a picture in TFA that covers the Google services & apps you would lose without Google Play Services (i.e. almost all of them).

I think you would also lose any games/paid apps that use the Play store licensing (LVL).

Re:Play Services is the "Value Add" (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | 1 year,43 minutes | (#44743851)

Honestly, I'd miss the Play Store and G+ ... However all my E-mail is done with K-9 and navigation with Waze (which is soon to be Google I understand).

Re:Play Services is the "Value Add" (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44744689)

K-9 is a fantastic mail client, especially since it support encryption. It would be nice to see a few more people using it.

Re:Play Services is the "Value Add" (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44744123)

As well as being a technically elegant solution I think they probably have Microsoft's experience at the back of their minds. When MS tried to make the browser and media player a core part of the OS they got bollocked by various governments, but on Android every component is easily replaceable.

I'm surprised Apple gets away with it, but apparent they have the president of the US on their side at the moment.

Copyleft got left in the name of progress (1)

Droidweb (3038715) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742667)

It might be worth noting that Google originally rejected copyleft in favor of permissive licensing in the name of giving OEM sand carriers more control over Android on their devices.

They did, but that practice of benevolence was quickly up once the time from code release to users adoption became astronomical, causing pitchforks and branding irons labled 'fragmentation' to bought out by every fanboy and 'industry expert'. Something had to be done.

Besides, Android as a pure OS is still freely available so that hackers and researchers can continue peacefully using the software. As for this new play services app, I'm a little concerned about what possible exploitable backdoors this might enable. Infect a phone with a modified play services .apk and it seems like you have the Android version of a rootkit.

Re:Copyleft got left in the name of progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743607)

Don't install it?

On my GNex, I actually had to go install the Remote Wipe / Phone Finder Play Services application.

Even if it was installed... just disable it?

Instead of focusing on a typo.. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742703)

Which just for the record probably means he is on the latest Chromium branch or one of those based on Chromium as i have noticed the "weird spacing error" thing since the last update, and instead focus on this great news?

As someone who owns an Android pre-paid (finally got out from under that contract, praise the FSM) this is great news but I have a few reservations...does this mean they'll be forcing updates to ICS on devices that can't run it well? Will they just abandon all but the latest and greatest? or will they do like I hope they would and take all those 2.x and 3.x devices and update to the last release in that branch?

Because looking around when i was shopping for my phone it amazed me how many Gingerbread (most 2.3.X based phones) there are being made and sold and moreover...how fricking well they run! When I was first looking at Android a couple years back it was when the market was crapflooded with 1.x devices and I have to say they ran like absolute dogshit. They were slow, buggy as all get out, the screen response was pathetic, they were just total shit, but these Gingerbread based phones? They are snappy, great battery life, plenty of apps for it,decent touchscreens, etc. While the 1.x devices i'm sure soured some on Android based on how shitty they were the 2.x devices are a nice experience all around.

So while its nice that Google will be able to do an end run around the OEMs, which i have noticed really don't give a rat's ass about support once they have sold you the phone I do hope Google doesn't "pull a MSFT" and drop all support and access to Google Play for those using older devices. I live in a rural state where many are working poor and they just can't afford to go out and spend $300+ on a phone and the contracts are legalized assrape so all those $50-$100 Android 2.x phones give the working poor the chance to enjoy what many of us have enjoyed for ages, the ability to have the Internet in their pocket.

Re:Instead of focusing on a typo.. (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743317)

Gingerbread phones run Google Play Services* pretty well.

That's kind of the point, they can push out updates to say the Maps API and let devs use those APIs on older phones.

The FreeBSD way (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742707)

So Google is following the FreeBSD way by keeping the base system separated from the userland? This allows upgrading user-facing programs and APIs even when the base OS is in "stable" mode. In this case, anything after Gingerbread is considered "stable" and everything else can be updated by the Google Play service.

Very well done. Now let's see you do this on Enterprise Linux 6 by porting a recent version of Google Chrome.

When I get a new phone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#44742717)

I first go to google play and download all of the updated versions of the software I use...

Then I root the device, backup all of the downloaded apks and install a clean operating system.. Something WITHOUT gapps.

Then I side load all of the applications I downloaded.

You would be amazed how much better the device works when all of that CRAP isn't running in the background eating resources and using bandwidth.

 

Re:When I get a new phone... (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about a year ago | (#44744957)

But then you cannot download any new application when it comes to your mind?

So then... (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44742981)

Settings > Apps > Google Play Services > Disable

Re:So then... (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743367)

This is not a good idea, you'll end up breaking a lot of apps if you do this. Disabling Google Services would also disable the ability for 3rd party apps to make use of the many, many APIs it contains (where are very useful for app devs).

FTA:

Right now Play Services handles the Google Maps API, Google Account syncing, remote wipe, push messages, the Play Games back end, and many other duties. If you ever question the power of Google Play Services, try disabling it. Nearly every Google App on your device will break.

Re:So then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743663)

I see what they did there.

They're right: Google Play Services handles all that. They provide the APIs.

Google Play Games is an optional download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.play.games&hl=en
Maps is also a separate download.

Google Play Device Manager also requires you to enable the factory reset on the phone before you're able to do it. Try it, and you'll see that you need to enable it on phone first.

Re:So then... (1)

pentadecagon (1926186) | about a year ago | (#44744401)

This affects only Google APIs. So if you disable the Google-Service, any apps talking to Google-Services won't work anymore. Big surprise.

Who wants an NSA phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743011)

Fuck Google.

Re:Who wants an NSA phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743125)

Fuck you.

Re:Who wants an NSA phone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743295)

When Google spies on me and my fellow citizens they use Linux so that makes it cool!

One thing they can't fix: realtime audio (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743031)

That will still need proper OS-level support, and vendor/hardware specific upgrades, to fix.
I like Android, but the VM layer philosophy just isn't suited to realtime audio apps. I'd be excited to see apps as bulletproof and useful as the Mackie iPad-mixer setups bands are now using in live settings, on Android tablets.

Re:One thing they can't fix: realtime audio (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743143)

You may think you know what you're talking about, but you really don't. In fact you made a very ignorant comment. The issue isn't the VM, it's Linux and 4.3 has done a lot to address the issue. I encourage you to view the Google 2013 I/O presentation on low latency audio to further correct your ignorant views.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3kfEeMZ65c

Can you download and modify Google Play? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,3 hours | (#44743113)

I can see the utility in google being able to push out new services and frameworks via Google Play.

However it seems like the danger as far as Android being a more open system, is that now you can't change or examine Google Play yourself.

I did try googling for Google Play source, but it seems the sort of thing Google would not likely provide source for... they may very well for embedded frameworks it pushes out I suppose, but then how would you load modified versions?

What Happens When Google Play Services is Buggy? (4, Informative)

echusarcana (832151) | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743149)

A quick check on XDA Developers suggests that many ROMs are having problems with Google Play Services right now: excessive battery usage, high data usage. It is hard to tell because the simple monitoring tools don't break down what this mysterious piece of software is doing. It might be some subtle version incompatibility.
So what happens when a monolithic chunk of software has a *really* bad release? Putting all your eggs in one basket is a serious risk.

Re:What Happens When Google Play Services is Buggy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743563)

Exactly this doesn't fix any of the users issues. It only helps Google. The carrier, manufacturer, and google will still be adding in programs the user doesn't want or need on their phone. More control of the OS is desperately needed for the users. Especially where it is tied to performance and battery life

Re:What Happens When Google Play Services is Buggy (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743619)

I do think there were some bugs to be worked out because they patched the app signature stuff, but the reality is that those ROMs are not getting Google Play from Google, nor do they officially support them.

http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Gapps [cyanogenmod.org]

Incidentally, on any given day any quick check of XDA will show ROMs with a wide variety of bugs. Many of the ROMs on XDA are put together by hobbists who have figured out how to build AOSP from source. Many are quite talented and experienced but do not have a staff of QA testers, nor the inside knowledge of closed source driver APIs. So many bugs on custom ROMs revolve around the hardware driver issue. The hardware driver stuff is the bigger concern (IMHO)

Granted, it would be nice for customers to have an official way to obtain Google Play (as they do for many other gapps)

Re:What Happens When Google Play Services is Buggy (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44744133)

Updates are not mandatory, and you can easily install old versions of Google apps. I am currently running the last V6.x issue of Maps, for example, because the new V7.x ones don't have the navigation without destination feature I use every day.

Why I dont have a smartphone (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743311)

Pushing updates means your phone or apps break, just one day for no apparent reason. It's why I don't have a smartphone. My SOs sucks so bad we had to buy her a tablet just so she could use her apps and read her books.

My dumbphone is good enough . I look forward to Ubuntu tablets and phones.

Re:Why I dont have a smartphone (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | 1 year,2 hours | (#44743425)

My SOs sucks so bad we had to buy her a tablet

Has her sucking improved?

(sorry, couldn't resist)

Re:Why I dont have a smartphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743555)

You can turn off auto-update.

Open (3, Insightful)

sydneyfong (410107) | 1 year,1 hour | (#44743539)

the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"

Re:Open (1)

21mhz (443080) | about a year ago | (#44744235)

A good one-liner. Now honestly, have you ever tried to build and run that on a hardware of your choice?

Open-source? Meh (5, Insightful)

chickybrick (3033037) | 1 year,50 minutes | (#44743821)

"Of course it's an open-source OS! But we moved all the important parts to a closed-source mega-app which can give itself permission to do anything it wants."

Having said that, I'm not sure I want to start bashing Google too much. People complain about fragmentation and feature exclusion, but complain again when Google introduces a work-around to deal with slow vendor updates. Damned both ways, and if there was a simple, easy solution that did not entirely lock down the OS, it would have pushed out already.

Re:Open-source? Meh (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about a year ago | (#44744971)

Indeed. It all depends on where they put the line between essential OS services and google's extra services.

Changes on a daily basis ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44744211)

And since they own it and update it any time they feel like it might it be used to :

Install/uninstall Spyware when they feel like it ??

Applications that use it be locked out unless the App seller come across with some CASH at any time Google chooses??

Seriously -- parts of the OS or App services that change constantly without the users permission ... great way to make it an even bigger moving target for developers.

Ask and ye shall receive (1)

Skythe (921438) | about a year ago | (#44744695)

Your answer to "fragmentation" is here

Thanks, device manufacturers, (3, Insightful)

Thry (962012) | about a year ago | (#44744807)

All your laziness has led to proprietary, closed-source services being dropped on the phone to cover your asses.

Am I the only one? (3)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year ago | (#44744901)

Going through the comments, it seems as if I am the only person who seems to think this is a good thing. I got a name-brand phone, but its on a discount carrier. Surprisingly, Cyanogen does not have a fork for my phone (apparently, even though this phone is the most popular Samsung Galaxy my carrier carries, it is still not popular enough for a Cyanogen Mod ROM). My phone is stuck on 2.3.6, meaning that I can't use TWC app on it. I don't think my provider has EVER pushed out an OTA update for any of their phones. My old phone was on 2.0, but luckily there was a Cyanogen Mod for it (actually, it was not an official release, had to dig through forums to find people working on it), and was able to get it to 2.3

My tablett is worse - it is made by an off-name brand chinese company (actually considering wiping it next year and giving it to a friend and picking up a Nexus), and it is only that they released a VERY SIMILAR tablet with a newer OS on it that I was able to get the thing to update to 4.1, otherwise I would still be stuck on 2.1. However, because the phone is rooted, I cannot view Ultraviolet content on it. (Stupid, really, as Netflix works just fine)

So to get updated features, I have to root my device, mess with half a dozen ROMs before finding one that works, go back into the Cyanogen Mod settings (if there is a Cyanogen Mod ROM, otherwise whatever ROM you are using) and punch in my carrier details, hoping my data and texts still work, and run the risk of possibly bricking my device.

Now Google is talking about pushing out updates through the Play Store? What a brilliant idea! Give people new features without them having to Root their phones or install custom ROMs. This will also mean for app developers that more devices will have newer features, allowing special features of your app to run on more devices. This sounds like a VERY good thing.

If you don't like it, block the updates. But for the rest of us, this sounds like a great idea, and I can't wait for Google to push out thier first new updates, and hope this means better app support on my devices.

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