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I don't think Google originally planned it this way, but their release strategy gives them an interesting gradient of users that I think benefits them. (This is entirely off the cuff, I may be sticking my foot in my mouth.)

Early adapters, who are more likely to engage with the bigger questions raised by tech, are likely to use new devices with the latest revision of what Google thinks you should share with the advertising world - lately, this has been giving users slightly more control. Meanwhile, older and cheaper devices (a much larger segment) mostly run older OSes that more more data-sponge-friendly.

So the picky and wealthier customers have reason to tell others "Google is getting better" while everyone else keeps feeding the beast.






Yes, you're right.

The inference you haven't made yet is what the proportions of the users in the "early adopter" and "general user" categories are in countries that are NOT the United States or Europe.

Hint: most of Google's Android users aren't in the US or Europe at all. Instead they're in countries where there are much more pressing social, political, or economic issues for governments to address that easily sideline privacy concerns with minimal lobbying funds.

On the flip side of this, Apple can focus on privacy and security as a brand largely because their customer base consists almost entirely of the affluent and business class of society worldwide. Everyone who would otherwise be exploitable is priced out.


Yep. I'm sorry to say a lot of people here have a fundamentally imperialist stance towards the rest of the world. It comes out in all sorts of ways. Of course, we're not the only country with that outlook, just (currently) the dominant one.

I agree with everything you wrote, but note that Apple's attempt to brand itself as privacy aware is self serving and works only because privacy is such a vague topic the population doesn't really know how to reason precisely about it. Their affluent users don't actually care more than anyone else, but it lets them virtue signal to their friends a little bit without having to make any actual sacrifices of features or usability.

Take the end to end encryption in iMessage. It doesn't mean anything: like all such schemes Apple can push a new key to your friends phones, or a software update that selectively disables it, at any time they want. There may already be back doors there nobody knows about. The user could never detect this nor do anything about it even if they did. But Apple use it to claim they care about privacy.

On advertising, Apple only decided advertising was bad and privacy invasive after their own iAd initiative flopped completely. When Jobs thought Apple could compete directly with Google on advertising he was all about how beautiful and usable Apple ads would be.

Apple's all about privacy except they want you to upload everything to their cloud. They're all about privacy except they have root on all your devices. Note: this is unlike Android, where the root keys for the devices are owned by OEMs who sandbox and review/audit Google's software, and the OEMs in turn don't have access to the Google cloud data. Some Android devices don't even use Google services at all.

For Apple privacy is a marketing angle. It can be seen in the way the latest iOS/Android versions don't differ from each other in any significant respects.


A wonderful system were the tech illiterate remains an everlasting source of personal information for sale on ad exchanges.



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