Why do smartphones force us into the cloud?

Why does the latest version of Android come with 18 undeletable Google apps?  Are these all integral the operation of the underlying operating system?  Are there no room for alternatives?

Does everyone forget https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft?

The part that annoys me the most is if I want to use just one of the apps, Accounts & Sync is enabled for all of them.  Using the Play Store should not automatically enable my entire library of pictures, all of my contact, my calendar, etc., to be uploaded to Google's servers.  This is done through an opt-out "feature", so once the account is set up, it's a race to the settings menu to disable the 15+ account sync options that automatically transmit my data to Google.

Shouldn't sending my personal data to a 3rd party require an opt-in?  Rather than an opt-out.

I bought an Oppo phone thinking the Color OS flavour of Android would save me from this.  But I'm not seeing the difference.  (Though I am impressed with the device otherwise, even if I still have to go the extra mile to customize the device).

Here are just a few of the apps that cannot be deleted from the latest Android phones:



3 comments on 'Why do smartphones force us into the cloud?'

  • Greg Kochanski

    I don't know why they are "undeletable". Note that they're not strictly undeletable: you can always dump Android for CyanogenMod, and --interestingly-- Google requires all Android phones to allow you to load your own OS onto the phone. (And they open-source Android, too, which is where CyanogenMod comes from.) But, I think the answer to the rest of question is that you're opting in to share with Google rather than GMail. The various Google apps are connected back at the servers. For instance, GMail can save stuff to Drive, and the Photos app can read from Drive. Search can see your Google+ stuff, et cetera. And they tie in to advertising which pays for the apps and the servers. You may like to think of them as separate apps, but they aren't really.

  • Ken Nickerson

    Exactly what I was thinking but too lazy to write. Great observation, I tweeted this out too. Thanks, ken

  • steve

    Hi Greg, I went with Oppo because most of their phones are CyanogenMod friendly, though the Find7 is lagging in support at the moment. The big thing for me is I'd like to keep my contacts, calendar, and photos private, without sharing to the cloud, while having access to the app store. So from a freshly installed phone, I add my Google account for the Play store, download the apps that I need, then delete my Google account from the phone entirely. Seems to be the only way of keeping them from transferring data from my phone. Even unchecking the cloud sync options doesn't work, because they get automagically enabled again with no input from me--major privacy no-no. Thanks, Steve

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