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Old 06. Mar 2014, 05:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Android - too much of Google?

With recent versions of Android, it seems like the intrusiveness of Google is increasing version per version.

I really like Android, but with the increasing Google intrusiveness into it, I am now starting to look forward to the alternate mobile OS that are coming up, like Firefox OS, or Ubuntu based OS.

With KitKat, there came the news that Hangouts will replace SMS. That is something I consider really intrusive.

With recent versions, I see more and more of Google apps being installed on Android. I will list them down, which are from Google Nexus tablet, running on KitKat.

GoogleChrome
Google Currents
Google Drive
Gmail
Google Search
Google+
Hangouts
Google Maps
Photos
Play Books
Play Games
Play Music & TV
Play Music
Play Newsstand
Play Store
Quickoffice
YouTube

As you can see, this is quite a big list of Google apps. Now, while for high end Android phones, which come with a fair amount of internal storage, these apps being installed won't create much problem, but on low end phones, where the internal storage is really small, and installation of each app takes up precious space, these Google apps really do create a problem. I have seen some low end phones and tablets really struggle for space, which my relatives have.

Many people won't even use most of these apps... I certainly don't. Out of these, I hardly use more than two or three. Rest just eat up space.

Also, many of these apps even keep running in background. Even if you root the phone, you are still in doubt as to when you remove any of these apps, whether your phone will still be running fine or not.

Like, I have rooted my phone, but I am still in doubt, whether to stop Google Maps, Google Search, Google+ and YouTube for auto-loading or not. Somewhere it says that these apps are required in order for Android, or the Play Store to function properly. But really, on phones with less RAM, these apps running in background continuously, or now and then, are a real annoyance, and take up RAM and cause slowdown. On my Gingerbread phone, they even crash the phone, or hang it more than often.

OK well, with apps like App2SD, or Link2SD, the apps can be stored in SD card, but now with the latest version of KitKat, news is coming in that now this will not be an option either. More on that is covered on this thread:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/free...d-useless.html

That's a real stupid move, and something which is really intrusive, and something not many Android users will like. I certainly don't.

Although I agree that Android is great, and has great apps, but I really do not like so much of Google intrusiveness in it. Also, not to say that you have to regularly monitor the Google Settings, because by default, you are agreeing to associate yourself with ads, or agreeing to disclose your location, and what not.

I will say that I am now looking forward to alternative mobile OS like Firefox OS, or Ubuntu OS, to come to the main stream mobile market, so that the customers have more option, and can reject such nonsense being pushed down their throats.
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Old 06. Mar 2014, 06:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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On my Samsung Mini, rooted and with a SD card, I can't move any Google app to the SD card using Link2SD. All other apps were moved to SD card and work fine. However, the internal memory has only about 15MB left and whenever I attempt to download and install a non-Google app I get a low storage/memory warning, which is very annoying! :-(
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Old 06. Mar 2014, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That exactly is the problem with all these Google apps. They cannot be moved to SD card, and they take up valuable space, and this does not allow other apps to be downloaded, and installed on the phone. It's ridiculous.

Only thing I can advise is to ask in the XDA forum, which of the Google apps you have presently, can be safely removed without affecting the working of the phone. Still, it would mean installing of an app like Titanium Backup on the phone, and in present conditions, it won't be able to install.
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Old 06. Mar 2014, 08:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I completely agree. Android started as the "underdog" in the mobile OS. It had to compete with iOS, Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile.
It grew over time and became what it is now, a behemoth OS whose shipments will top 1 billion devices this year alone .

Sadly, intrusiveness was, is and will be the norm with Android as Google will try to mine as much data as possible. Even official additions included in Android regarding privacy were scrapped days later claiming they were "accidental". That is why projects like CyanogenMod, MIUI or AOKP were born; they wanted a pure Android experience without Google's bloatware but they faced great opposition from Google at one point.

As for Google's bloat, removing most of the apps is possible and will cause no harm. Based on Anupam's list, these are the apps I removed using Titanium Backup:

GoogleChrome (using Android Browser instead)
Google Currents
Google Drive
Google Search (it can be safely removed unless you need the Google Now! feature)
Google+
Hangouts
Google Maps (+Streetview)
Photos (+Picasa)
Play Books
Play Games
Play Music & TV
Play Music (just install another player from the play store and set it as the default app)
Play Newsstand
QuickOffice (Kingsoft Office is waaaay better )
YouTube=> Apps like PlayStore will try to open the YouTube app when opening a video from an app's page, this can solved by installing a 3rd party video player and setting it as the default app. I you don't want to install any app, you can also use your browser (Chrome is not necessary).

Anupam is right when he says Android is still great (especially when compared to BlackBerry OS or Windows Phone) and there is a ton of awesome free apps to choose from, but judging by the way things are going right now, it is time for a new OS to emerge to give the user the same opportunities Android gave us 5 years ago.

Last edited by IO.Hazard; 06. Mar 2014 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Fixed a broken link
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Old 06. Mar 2014, 09:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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True, Android's popularity has really grown over the years. But, that time, Google was not as much intrusive with Android as it is now. Yes, it's their OS, and they can put their apps on the phone, but this many.. that most of the space is taken by their apps, and that too non-useful ones, with not an option to remove them? That's not what I would like.

And yes, privacy has always been an issue with Google... they keep messing here and there, too often. If anyone hasn't reviewed the Google settings on their phone, or Gmail, do them... you would be surprised what all they try to sneak in past you.

IO.Hazard, many thanks for the list of apps that can be removed. Really helpful.

One question though. In KitKat, it's said that Hangouts replaces SMS, so will removing Hangouts affect SMS on phone in anyway? I don't have a KitKat phone, but still would like to ask the question for information, and for the benefit of others too.
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Old 06. Mar 2014, 11:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Arrow Removing KitKat's unwanted features

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anupam View Post
One question though. In KitKat, it's said that Hangouts replaces SMS, so will removing Hangouts affect SMS on phone in anyway? I don't have a KitKat phone, but still would like to ask the question for information, and for the benefit of others too.
Of course there is a way Anupam. All you have to do is installing the SMS app of your choice and set it as the default app. Once done, you can remove Hangouts without any remorse. There is a very useful guide about removing KitKat's unwanted apps and features HERE.

Enjoy!
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Old 07. Mar 2014, 08:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot IO.Hazard. Looking at that article, it's even more evident how much Google intrusiveness in increasing. And I didn't know about phone number being used to identify you ... I will be reviewing my Google account settings again today .
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Old 07. Mar 2014, 09:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have no idea if the Firefox mobile OS will ever catch on but here is an article that says it might be big some day. Anybody here used it? Might be an alternative to Android?
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Old 08. Mar 2014, 12:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That was a very interesting read v.laurie, thanks for sharing it. FirefoxOS has potential and Mozilla has the money to back it, however, if Firefox OS does not make the cut for some strange reason, Jolla's Sailfish OS could become an interesting alternative to Android, for it can be ported to most of the current medium to high-level phones and it is also making some interesting moves in China.

Of course Android is still alive and kicking, but it is exciting to think how these new mobile Operating Systems could change the game.
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Old 08. Mar 2014, 05:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you think the Google list is bad, have a look at the list of 'Samsung' apps. My Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition has 3 Gb of RAM, and yet after a boot, I'm lucky to have 300 Mb free. Most of these in RAM are idle and are just preloaded for your inconvenience. Most of them can't be disabled .

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...=sharing#gid=0

Instead of rooting the device, my solution was to disable all the Google and Samsung apps I don't care about and block internet access to the rest with the NoRoot Firewall app as per my review here.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/noro...net-access.htm

When I start the Tablet now, the only active running apps are the firewall and YouTube. I don't use YouTube much so I blocked it as well. I just unblock it if I need it.

These blocks of unused Google and Samsung apps that can't be disabled haven't affected the Play Store or interfered with anything else working for me anyway. I've not noticed any problems at all by disabling or blocking any Google apps on your list. I wouldn't touch Gmail as it may affect your Google account, and leave alone Google Play Services, Google Account Manager, Google Search and Google Services Framework.

I'm still unhappy about all the unnecessary junk but I'm happier now that none of it can phone home. I've locked down all the privacy settings I can and I have a healthy distrust of 'Cloud' anything or apps with unnecessary permissions. Google won't be mining much from me. I've even manufactured a few bogus contacts to the Tablet to see if they turn up anywhere unexpected. One example is 'Hugo Anjump' - most are unsuitable to post in a forum.

As a point of interest, the only thing I've found that interferes with Play Store is setting the Android clock back a few years. I tried this trick to defeat apps that give you the full version for a trial period. I can't believe that old PC shareware trick still works. If you alter your clock too much, email stops working as well.

I'd be interested to see other operating systems for mobile devices. I'm not an Android fanboy but I try to work with what I've got.

Regards
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Last edited by tamxir; 08. Mar 2014 at 06:07 AM.
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