Is there too much Google in Android 4.4 KitKat?

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Nov 8, 2013 10:48:06 AM

We've got our Nexus 5 and have been pretty impressed by it, but one thing you really notice is just how pervasive Google is in Android 4.4 KitKat: You've got the Google Experience Launcher which, obviously pushes Google to the forefront, there's voice search on every home screen, Google Now moves from a swipe up option to a dedicated home screen, the new dialer includes Google search capabilities and all of your SMSes now go through Google Hangouts.

Of course, you can change many of these options or simply choose not use them at all, and the Nexus 5 with KitKat IS a Google showcase after all, so perhaps it's all fair enough, but I put the question to you: do you think Google is pushing their presence a little too hard in KitKat?

Nov 8, 2013 6:36:49 PM

Well, that is a very good point Kris! I read on the internet somewhere that it's not stock Android that is in the Nexus 5, it's stock Google. Google is boarderline creepy most of the time and now they have a smartphone that millions are wanting without really even realizing the implications that, yes, Google knows all...even more than before!

I guess they are trying to make their phones a lot more responsive to users by adding Voice search everywhere and other elements. It's safe to say I would have to try the Nexus 5 a bit more to say if this really bothers me.

Nov 9, 2013 3:09:44 AM

After messing around with my buddy's shiny new Nexus: Yes, there is way too much Google in it!!! That is just my personal opinion. I don't know. For me personally, the more Google has control of my Android system, the more it reduces the functionality of my device. Again, my personal opinion based on my experience. Please don't hate me for it.

"You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here & So Am I" - FZ

Nov 11, 2013 5:32:06 PM

Question for you @Amy (because I know you loathe Google): if the issue is not just the Nexus devices (which, of course, it makes sense for Google to drown in Google mojo) but a general Googlizing of Android, what will that mean for you? I know you mentioned elsewhere you won't go past 4.1, but if Google keeps piling more and more Google services and integration into Android in general (which they will of course do), at which point would you consider jumping ship? Or would you just keep battling to keep Google out of your Android as much as possible? (I'm getting a Sarah Connor vibe here) :)

Nov 11, 2013 11:15:48 PM

Kris Carlon
Question for you @Amy (because I know you loathe Google): if the issue is not just the Nexus devices (which, of course, it makes sense for Google to drown in Google mojo) but a general Googlizing of Android, what will that mean for you? I know you mentioned elsewhere you won't go past 4.1, but if Google keeps piling more and more Google services and integration into Android in general (which they will of course do), at which point would you consider jumping ship? Or would you just keep battling to keep Google out of your Android as much as possible? (I'm getting a Sarah Connor vibe here) :)

Hey Kris, I'm still waiting for a "Rich (or financially backed), Google Hating, Genius, Rouge, Linux Programming Geek" to come in and save the day....................WOW, that was a mouth full :P

I chose Android simply for the Linux factor, not the Google. It would be really cool if Firefox OS would spread to higher grade devices or more devices in general.......Trying to send out a telepathic signal here :P

Unless it was given to me for nothing, I won't be purchasing anymore Android devices. Seriously concidering diving back into Linux programming just to try to fix the "Google Problem" for myself.

I'd LOVE to crack an Android KitKat!

HACKERS AWAY!!!!!!! :)



-THAT'S IT, I convinced myself! I'll start playing Guinea Pig with a cheaper Android. I'll buy a real cheapy in a few weeks.......Still need my non-rooted Note to stay tuned here! :lol:

— modified on Nov 13, 2013 4:17:12 AM

"You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here & So Am I" - FZ

Deactivated Account

Nov 13, 2013 10:49:36 AM

yes, i am a big fan of Google's Android but i agree that with KitKat Google is trying to do too much with its OS, and i think in the race to win against iOS. Google has gone too far this time with KitKat. But i have still managed to make myself more towards Google's Android than iOS7. :(:(

Nov 13, 2013 4:32:13 PM

Kris Carlon
@Amy, let me know if Google reads this and starts offering you free Nexus devices to stay with Android. :grin:

Haha, @Kris, are you suggesting I send out some mysterious telepathic Nexus signals in Google's direction????<_<

— modified on Nov 13, 2013 4:34:42 PM

"You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here & So Am I" - FZ

Nov 13, 2013 5:37:13 PM

Since Google owns Android, I don't think "too much Google" actually applies when talking about any Google product, specially a Nexus phone, which is also a Google product.

Nov 19, 2013 1:11:01 PM

So @Henrique, if you bought a Samsung tv and they stuck a Samsung logo on the screen whenever you turned it on that would also be fair enough? I think there's a difference between producing a platform (Android, television, radio) and completely stuffing it to the gills with your own content. Would you listen to a radio station that played more self-promotional ads than music? There has to be a balance between ''free'' content and self-promotion. If you push it too far people turn away - this is why I have switched off some radio stations actually! And I think it could be a reason for some people to turn off Android. I personally don't think there's too much Google in KitKat (I use other launchers etc anyway and am relatively happy with Google services) but I can see if it continues this way the answer may become yes in the future. A lot of it also depends on how much you use Google services. I know you use a lot of them and would obviously like them being center-stage and integrated. Amy would not, and I'm in the middle.

Nov 19, 2013 4:17:25 PM

I started feeling like Google was taking over my device with the S3. I have begun to try to "turn off" and disable some of the Google functions. What became the most frustrating is the battery drain from Google constantly checking for updates (or whatever it is doing behind the scenes) I installed Juice Defender (thanks AndroidPIT for that tip!) in hopes that I could make it through the workday with out my phone almost completely dead. It worked like a charm btw, and it was Google Talk doing the drain which I don't even use, have never used and sure don't plan on using.

I have always been a die hard android fan - anti-apple, hate apple, will never have an apple. Now I am actually considering an iPhone or more than likely an iPad (currently own a Nexus7) I use my device heavily for work and since my boss has an iPhone (and iPad) and my co-workers all have iPhones...well I am considering it. I am sick to death of Google taking over my phone along with all of the other bloat-ware T-Mobile shoves in there.

I realize switching to Apple limits one even more and that is why I have not jumped ship. I'm with Amy..... Firefox help!!!!!!! We need you! Please , please! If your listening Mozilla, I would love a phone that you get to "customize" with apps just like when you build a new computer, why don't they have that option?? I mean you can "build" a MotoX (I wasn't impressed with that either) with different colors, why not take it a step further? And Mozilla would be the ones to do it!

I was looking into upgrading to a Note but was waiting to see what they come out with for the 5 and up models but after hearing about the direction of KitKat maybe I will look elsewhere. At this point I think I rather have a Windows phone.

I am still on the fence, but even considering a switch is new for me and I think a lot of other die-hard Google/Android fans have found themselves in the same disenchanted place. I had been one of Google greatest heralds, but then... they changed. The question is...where to go from here?

Nov 20, 2013 1:53:32 PM

@Kris: Sorry, I didn't understand you correctly. I understood that you were saying that there is too much Google in the Nexus 5. Actually Android 4.4 KitKat doesn't have Google products. KitKat is an open source project and everyone can fork it and do their own customizations, just like CyanogenMod for example.

The whole Google experience products are closed source (Play Store, Maps, Gmail, Keep, etc, etc) so, they are not included in KitKat. They are just included in the Nexus 5 because it makes sense as a product that is supposed to be sold to customers.

So, to answer your original question "Is there too much Google in Android 4.4 KitKat?" my answer is "No." Actually, KitKat is the version of Android which has the fewer Google products in it because with each version of Android they are moving products the closed source Google Experience each, which you can only get on your phone if you buy an Android phone from a manufacturer that pays Google for providing the experience or you can install them manually, in case you're using CyanogenMod.

Nov 29, 2013 1:20:46 AM

yes there is too much but you can switch most of it off like people are saying. Here in China access to Google is very patchy so Now doesn't work properly anyway so I just disabled it. Maps & Chrome are the standout apps for me but I choose not to use much of the other stuff. It's clear though that Google is gradually trying to get more ingrained into our lives but so far I think we can choose not to let them. I do feel that Google should take the nexus brand into a 'naked Android' experience and perhaps leave the Googlisation to their Moto brand. This would differentiate the phones and keep a good balance in their portfolio.

Nov 29, 2013 2:23:32 PM

Yeah, it's funny but, of all things, I hate the ridiculously large icons in KitKat, so despite being fond of voice search and the Google Now screen (well, kind of fond of that one), I actually reverted back to my old launcher because I like small icons and more home screen control. So all I'm getting is white icons and whatever performance improvements there are.

— modified on Nov 29, 2013 2:23:42 PM

Dec 4, 2013 8:29:09 PM

I actually really like KitKat... weighing in, now that my Nexus 4 finally got it. :) I love trying new things (in phones, anyway...) so I want changes to be big and noticeable! I like it being very Google... if I didn't want my phone to be Google, I'd have a Windows phone. (I would NOT have an iPhone, tell you WHAT). Changes are noticeable, obviously, and I think they're positive, except a bit of glitchiness that one expects... hopefully fine tuned soon.

HowDoYouAndroid.com

Dec 10, 2013 10:18:46 AM

HowDoYouAndroid.com
I actually really like KitKat... weighing in, now that my Nexus 4 finally got it. :) I love trying new things (in phones, anyway...) so I want changes to be big and noticeable! I like it being very Google... if I didn't want my phone to be Google, I'd have a Windows phone. (I would NOT have an iPhone, tell you WHAT). Changes are noticeable, obviously, and I think they're positive, except a bit of glitchiness that one expects... hopefully fine tuned soon.

Is it working positively, I have heard many people saying that it is full of glitches.

John Farrell Technical Consultant http://www.rapidsofttechnologies.com/

Dec 10, 2013 4:52:54 PM

@John ... The main glitchiness I found on mine was way too fast battery drain and way too slow camera response (significantly slower than when it was jelly bean). You haven't found those issues?

HowDoYouAndroid.com

Dec 10, 2013 11:38:17 PM

Hey guys, I skipped 4.4.1 on my Nexus 4 and went to 4.4.2 this morning. Haven't noticed any real differences, although I do have to admit the battery actually seemed better than previously on 4.4? Funny how battery drain is generally becoming the standard problem with new updates. The camera still sucks so I expect that improvement was very much isolated on the Nexus 5, but nothing else exciting to report about it for now.