Originally Posted by melgross
... But my feeling about this has been that Google doesn't care. Google makes 95% of its income, both gross and net, from advertising. They aren't, despite what most people think, primarily a search company. That's not their business. They are an Ad placement company. Their search function is just there for the purpose of making money from Ads. The better the search, the more Ads they get.
Actually, they aren't primarily an advertising company either, they are primary an information collection and control company. Advertising is but one application of the information they collect on individuals. So, yes, they don't care if they make any money directly with Android, or gmail, or gdocs, or any other gservice. It's all about collecting more and more personal information, which, among other things, may be used for targeting ads. This is why they can dump these products on the market below production costs, undermining competitors, while at the same time increasing their information collection and control capabilities.
Of course, one advantage of their dominance in search is that it gives them tremendous ability to control and manipulate information access, which, again, they use to funnel money to their bottom line.
Originally Posted by cgc0202
I consider the reluctance of Google to immerse into more active coordination of the Android project and its reluctance to invest in the infrastructure (not just the software) as a major stumbling in the development of the Android, as a more effective system, as much as the Apple integrated ecosystem it has built with the iPhone OS.
They may think that the fragmentation of Android actually serves them best. They don't actually care how good it is, or how good the user experience is. What they want is for Android to win, or do very well in, the checkbox wars, so that it looks like it outfeatures other phones and attracts users on that basis. However, since they want to create the appearance of a separation between themselves and the android ecosystem (this promotes the illusion of openness, among other things) they can't actually overtly control it like Apple does, and it would not suit their interests for any one handset maker to become the predominant supplier of Android handsets, as this could result in Google loosing some degree of control of Android.
So, what serves their interest best is to create this state of confusion and fragmentation in the Android universe by alternating latest features and releases among various handset makers, allowing no one to get the upper hand.