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That's charitable but Google really has been behaving as an evil actor lately. Just because they have essentially unlimited resources doesn't mean that they should be immune to critique.

No, it's not evil to make or ask for money to use your product; it's not evil to discontinue services, especially not with 6-24 month advanced warning; and it's not evil to literally want to be the omnipresent center of everyone's lives. How exactly is Google evil?

Their resources have not stopped lesser alternatives from doing business, even with a core product (eg. search) of their's, so it's not that. DuckDuckGo is doing quite well with search; those conversations usually talk about quality and speed of results, not on how Google is the new Altavista and how you should switch before Google deprecates HTTP for GTTP.

> How exactly is Google evil?

Well, there's an account out there with my real name tied to it that I never wanted to happen and to this day have no idea how it got there. I don't have a Google + account. Probably there was something that I clicked when I was tying my mobile phone to my Google account or something. I can't find any way to delete it either.

My YouTube account keeps telling me I should use my real name there as well....

Basically they try to make you give them things - they're an invasive presence. Does this make them evil? I don't know, I don't care. People who want to argue about good and evil are often avoiding arguing about the real issues, like whether someone's a nasty piece of work, or whether they're being abusive. When someone behaves like a scoundrel you know what sort of person they are, whether you can call them evil or not. What I do know is that my next phone is not going to be an android phone - and, when it isn't, I'll delete my google account entirely. I don't want people who treat me like that in my life. They make me feel dirty for associating with them.

And which one is going to be your next phone? An iPhone? or a Windows Phone? Just curious.

This isn't really a constructive observation. When MS was dominant, plenty of people still used Office. It didn't mean they didn't recognize that MS acted like a monopolist in a lot of ways. And it didn't mean that every aspect of MS was the same.

I don't know yet. Neither of those companies, (I believe? - might be wrong), has active social strategies. So, they're unlikely to use my data in ways that would increase my public risk by much. Either of them would be an improvement from that perspective. Neither are they likely to be particularly pushy when it comes to other services simply because I don't use much else that's made by them.

In terms of private risk - well, bam. They're OS manufacturers. If they want to screw you, you're screwed. Do either of them seem to be in the habit of screwing their customers? I don't think so. Again, I might be wrong.

I think, in terms of private vulnerability, if you're seriously concerned with that, then you have to start off with the assumption that your device is a traitor. I remember back when we were playing around with using phones microphones to eavesdrop on people even when the phone was turned off. You've got a snitch in your pocket - if you want to do something private from the people who made it, leave it at home.


All that being, from my point of view, more or less equal then - (and I'm open to feedback on any of this since I'm not religiously tied to either option.) I'm currently leaning towards Windows Phone. It looks like it has a really nicely thought out interface.

A lot of it will depend on which keyboard is better. That was the reason I opted for an android for my first phone - that it had the ability to change keyboard if I didn't like it.

Windows Phone's weakest points are probably the designs of its handsets and the app availability. But I don't use many apps anyway, and the hardware, IMO, isn't worse than iphone, it's just not as good as the best of android.

The things that might lean me more towards iphone is that I want to get a tablet at some point - and I've not seen any good Windows 8 Tablets. If I'm going to be curling up in bed for some reading, I don't really want something that's heavy and hot. It's gonna be easier if my tablet and my phone are both on the same system.


It's far from a perfect solution, whatever I choose. Android has, it seems to me, the best overall experience across tablets and phones, but the pushiness of Google's a deal killer. Windows has the best phone of the two remaining (and according to some of my girlfriends the best phone experience overall anyway) and Apple seem to have the best tablet of the remaining two.

I'm not strongly tied to any option at the moment though. I might even end up getting a Linux device - though the fact that they run on Android hardware which ties back to google is troubling.

Anything that you'd recommend?

I'd recommend Android, because I think as of now, the fears are unfounded, more of a paranoia. :)

I'm personally curious about a FFOS phone. Especially since it doesn't require a Google account.

Android doesn't require a Google Account to operate. You just won't be able to use Google services or third-party apps that use them.

Google used to support openness, and now it is being less open, and therefore less "good". A step in a direction that is less "good" is a step towards "evil". It's not unreasonable to say that Google is being more evil.

It's not a stretch to say that Google can't be trusted not to be evil if they've moved in a more evil (or less good) direction.

I think you're applying a a value judgement to a technical issue. "Open" pertains to the nature of certain software and standard. It's not inherently good or evil; you're just choosing to assign that value based on how it correlates with the world you'd like to see. I'd prefer things be more open too, but I don't agree that being less open is somehow inherently "more evil." You can have an entirely non-open company that's totally "good" - good/evil is about the actions of the company, not the wording of its license.

I don't consider closed-source software to be inherently evil. I do consider openness, transparency, et al to be inherently good, however, as these things are beneficial to the world at large. That doesn't mean that all alternatives are instantly evil or that openness is the One True Path.

I do consider a shift toward less openness to be inherently less good. I don't consider Google to suddenly be this evil company.

Google is, however, to be a very powerful company (and therefore a very dangerous company by nature), and a moral regression in policy is certainly an unnerving thing to see. I love a lot of things Google has done. I love a lot of their products, projects, practices, etc. I just can't consider Google to be a safe place.

The concept of "good" and "evil" is inherently a value judgement. Less open is more evil for some people. That's not wrong, you just don't agree with it. It's values, not everyone will agree.

It's a way of framing an argument that discourages rational discussion of the actual merits of each side. It's not whether or not I agree with that value judgement that matters; it's that assigning those kinds of judgement is often a way to preclude any deeper or more nuanced discussion.

That's a fair point, and it's easy to get caught in the trap of discussing things in such absolute terms.

I aim for clarity (often missing it entirely), and using absolute terms such as 'good' and 'evil' reduces clarity. I'm glad that I found this comment.

Google supports openness just fine and not statistically less than yesterday or n-days ago: https://code.google.com/hosting/search?q=label:google. Regardless, I'm dubious to believe having closed software makes one evil; just the same for discontinuing a product. Three steps forward; one step backwards; not evil, even by your ridiculous terms.

Honestly my greatest fear is that my account would be shut down for some obscure infraction and their support would be so terrible I'd never get it back. What would be the recourse then? Storming into their offices and demanding an answer?

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