It's hard to say goodbye - unless you're Google

15th Mar 2013 | 15:30

It's hard to say goodbye - unless you're Google

Google Reader RIP, Andy Rubin out of Android and lots of crying children

The hottest story of the last seven days has been the Samsung Galaxy S4, but it's also been a week of boo-hoos, with big goodbyes and some big old tantrums too.

The biggest bye-bye this week was Google Reader, whose demise was announced on Wednesday night. From July 1 there will be no more Reader, and that's not just a headache for the many apps that depend on it. As Kate Solomon says, the news caused "a howl of anguish". If Google can do it to Reader, could it do it to Gmail? Search? Your driverless car?

Solomon doesn't like the way this is going: "Google holds all the cards here: we blindly use the available tools, but if it decides to stop offering them, we haven't got a leg to stand on. You only have to look at the iOS 6 maps debacle to realise we'll all be lost if Google ditched Maps. If Google suddenly fancies getting out of the webmail game, there are plenty of people who will be royally put out. What if it pulled search?"

Chrome finish for Android?

Search is probably with us for a bit longer, but what about Android? This week, Android boss Andy Rubin - the man who helped create Android before Google had even heard of it - left the Android division for pastures new inside Google, and Android was given to Chrome boss Sundar Pichai.

Pichai's an incredibly smart guy who's built Chrome from a niche app into a browsing behemoth, but what does it all mean for Android? Matt Swider stares into the tea leaves and predicts the future: "Pushing the ecosystem forward could mean the merger of the Android mobile OS and the Chrome OS, a long-held speculation by analysts in the past. The fact that Pichai is keeping his 'Chrome and Apps' duties in addition to taking on the new Android position further backs up that rumour."

We'll get some hints this summer, but in the meantime Samsung's about to announce a new phone with an old OS. That's what Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller reckons anyway, telling anyone who'll listen that Android is fragmented and not as good as iOS buy an iPhone buy an iPhone buy an iPhone.

Many reports have characterised that as Apple being defensive as Samsung gears up to launch the Galaxy S4, but Gary Marshall isn't so sure, arguing that Schiller's carefully timed interview is corporate business as usual. "You see exactly the same in music ('Our album's going to be so much better than theirs'), and in boxing ('I am really good at punching people, and he isn't'), and in supermarkets ('We're cheaper than them, and our food isn't made of horse!'). It doesn't mean anything. It's just marketing."

Touchscreen tantrums

While Phil Schiller was trying to make Samsung cry, parents were making children cry. According to the Daily Mail, there's a new phenomenon called the "iPaddy". That's what some parents call the tantrums their kids throw when their iPads and iPods are taken away, and it's a word we must all promise not to use.

"The phenomenon of gadget-related punishment is real enough," Marshall says, because gadgets need to be part of growing up - and letting the kids use a tablet doesn't mean you're a lazy parent: "You can be a good parent and let your kids play on the iPad, and you can be a bad parent with a house full of encyclopedias."

Even the bad stuff - apps that try to flog expensive in-app purchases, false advertising of other apps - are learning opportunities: "The more tech-saturated the world becomes, the more important digital literacy will become," Marshall argues. "I want my daughter to be ready for that world, not to be afraid of it or to be manipulated by it."

And while we're talking tablets, what about the ePad Femme?

Week in Tech Google Reader Samsung Galaxy S4 Android
Share this Article
Google+

Most Popular

Edition: UK
TopView classic version