Facebook is “for sure” using Google’s Android operating system as the basis for its phone software, according to a plugged-in Silicon Valley source.
This means that Google is now essentially helping Facebook attempt to destroy Google!
Earlier, news broke that Facebook is working on mobile phone software that would put it in stronger competition with Google and Apple. As we explained, the big picture is that Facebook wants to be more of a mobile platform, not just a service or app. (Much more analysis here.)
It appears that Facebook will be making use of Google’s open-source Android operating system to do its damage, which will surely piss a lot of people off at Google.
Not only are the companies fierce competitors in products and in recruiting, but Facebook just stole one of the Android team leaders to lead its mobile phone products, Erick Tseng.
Using Android is probably the easiest and best way for Facebook to go about this, so it makes sense. (And it explains why Tseng joined Facebook and not a startup, or something else.)
This way, Facebook could do whatever it wants to make the underlying OS more “social,” while also supporting all the third-party apps being written for Android. Yes, it will fragment Android even more, but it’s still easier than building a new OS from scratch.
For more clues, check out the Twitter feed of Facebook engineer Joe Hewitt, who is reportedly working on the Facebook phone project. Hewitt, best known for his outspoken rants against Apple, has recently savaged Google’s Android tools, and has been tweeting up a storm about Android lately, including:
- I didn’t say Android is horrendous, I said the tools (Eclipse) are, and the OS is ugly (visually). On technical merits Android is great.
- Android tools are horrendous, OS is hideous, but the absence of big brother telling me what to do gives it a slight edge.
- Android fragmentation will hopefully stabilise within 2 years, and if not, at least people upgrade phones much more often than computers.
- Android dev community needs a quirksmode.org-like site to chart the subtle differences between each device, so we needn’t buy every one.