He’s Going to be in Trouble

Jean-Baptiste Queru, a member of the Google Android Team, starts out a post in a July 11th posting on Google Groups with “I’m going to get into trouble for this post…” So what was the top topic? The thread dealt with recent accusations of a lack of openness in Android.

Some Android developers launched a petition on Android Google Groups complaining that Google hadn’t updated the Android SDK since March 2008. Also a complaint is that Google hasn’t communicated about Android since Google I/O.

We understand your pain, we communicate it back up to our management, we’re not happy about the situation either, we’d love more openness too. And, just like anybody else, we don’t like to read implications that we’re lazy, or that we’re liars, or that we don’t care about you.” – Jean-Baptiste Queru

Is Google so hard at work on getting the platform out for a Q4 release that they are forgetting to talk about Android?

If you’d like to read the discussion and keep up with the replies, head over to the original post.

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  1. I posted about that this morning with more information at http://www.googleandblog.com/google-android-engineer-speaks-out/313/ – as it would be great if Android had a Matt Cutts like engineer that can speak out like Matt does for SEO.

    Jean replied back to me via email that he couldnt directly address any questions and echoed this in his further statement on Google Groups at 4:40pm PST where he said:

    “Saying things I’m strictly not allowed to say wouldn’t accomplish anything positive: saying isn’t doing, and even if I said something there wouldn’t be an SDK available. Furthermore I’d probably lose my job over it”

  2. @Hicham: No, this is not an organized effort. You can bet that if it was organized the message would have ended up on the official Android Developers Blog.

  3. I feel Android is taking the steps of a soon-to-be-cancelled platform, and one’s better of waiting for concrete devices like a Tegra WM7 device, or an iPhone.

  4. @TareX: No way Android will be a cancelled platform especially with the enthusiasm that the top brass at Google have for it – plus the market share of phones is 3 times that of computers.

    @Hicham: JBQ directly answered you (assumably this is Jean – the Google engineer making the original statement)

    Knowing people at Google, they try to be open and responsive as much as possible, but Android is at a sensitive stage where that may be not be prudent at this time.

    IMHO Jean made a constrained statement so the community knows that the Android team is in fact listening and sensitive to their concerns, but the total focus is on pushing the product out.

  5. where are all the android advocates? aren’t they being paid to do this sort of communications????

  6. My guess is that there is a big internal rift inside Google between the Android developers and the sales executives at AdSense ( each work in two different buildings? ).

    Yes I am completely speculating, but I have always wondered about Android and its Apache license, which probably caught all the executives at the OHA carriers flatfooted. They knee jerked agreed to support Android, not paying any attention to the implications of what the Apache license means for their deeply ingrained culture of corruption, laziness and contempt for us long suffering Consumers.

    Once T-Mobile and Sprint realized that anyone can do anything with an Android phone, including deleting all the evilness that carriers normally burn into each handset ( no way to measure your minute balance, tons of roadblocks to installing third party apps that the carrier doesn’t make money on, etc ) they probably freaked out.

    Now with this stale SDK nastiness, I wonder if the AdSense execs have joined the carriers in freaking out over the Apache license too. “What the f*** do you mean the users can turn off or delete AdSense ads on their gPhones!?!?!? How are we gonna make any money!?!?”


    IF my speculation is turns out to be fact, the irony would be pretty thick – Android is such a game changer, its even disrupting Gogole itself. Didn’t this happen at Apple back in the 1980s? Steve Jobs raised the Jolly Roger in a seperate building to create the Macintosh because the corporate red tape had gotten so bad he couldn’t do what he wanted?

    Another thought – ultimately Android forks into two versions, an Apache version and a “locked” version ( so the carrier and AdSense sales teams can sleep at night? ) kinda like what Sun Microsystems does with Solaris? There’s a “free” version of Solaris, and you get the source code, then there’s a super expensive, “locked” version, which I forget the name of, Secure Solaris or something.

    Forking of Android before it even gets into Alpha – good grief is the world that greedy now? That out of touch with Consumers?

  7. Interesting discussion this. Adding my two cents to the speculation:

    My guess is that Google has its engineers working hard on retrofitting Android for the first Android phone with service from T-Mobile. Obviously, they cannot be too open about exactly what ‘retrofitting’ is happening to make Android acceptable to a conventional carrier like T-Mobile. At worst, they could be helping limit or cripple Android’s features. At best, they could be adding some competitive features which would wow the customers and they don’t want to reveal those to the competition yet. Probably a mix of both.

    In any case, as mentioned in other articles previously, most of Google’s attention and resources are now tied up with getting the first Android phone out ASAP. So, they don’t have any time to spare for other activities like communicating with developers or releasing new versions of the SDK.

    A S

  8. @A S You cannot release anything under the Apache license that is “crippled” or “locked”. T-Mobile may be doing exactly what you say, but your speculation implies that Android is going to fork into two versions, or will not be released Open Source under Apache. Either way, there will be hell to pay.

  9. He probably did get in trouble. There has hardly been any activity on the part of Google on those lists for months. Dan Morrill, who’s ostensibly doing “community management” (for lack of a better term) hasn’t posted anything since May.

    Even more oddly, I’ve just returned from GUADEC, the GNOME Users and Developers European Conference, held this year in Istanbul. Google was a Silver sponsor and even “hosted” a party, but weirdly, there was not a single Google person in evidence at the conference at all. Who throws a party and doesn’t even bother to attend it…?

  10. Hi Android Developer Challenge Team,

    That is great news.

    Now how about releasing this to the public developers as well.

    We have been waiting many months already, with no road map for the public sdk release schedule.


    Regards Gary
    – Hide quoted text –

    On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 7:50 AM, Android Developer Challenge Team wrote:

    ADC Entrants,

    We’re pleased to announce that SDK build 84853 is now available on your private download site. This will be the last build released for ADC Round 2 and is the build that you will need to submit your final application under.

    In addition, the final ADC deadline has been extended to Tuesday, August 5. This is the final ADC deadline.

    Android Developer Challenge Team

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