Google Needs to Get It Together and Fix Their Reputation

Google has a problem: despite being the literal parent of Android, they can’t get Android updates (or substantial Feature Drops) to their products in a timely manner. Yeah, Google, despite your huge media marketing campaigns to the contrary, I noticed the last two Feature Drops have been very… small. Updates have either been consistently late, or never appear at all on their old (or even new) premium phones as they promise to. I think I’ve maybe gotten two new features on Pixel 6 in the last four Feature Drops? That phone isn’t that old, and it was the first Tensor Pixel!

There’s no excuse.

I don’t know how Google has managed to fail so spectacularly at literally anything they do. The fact that Samsung is way ahead of Google on Android updates and feature releases that lay underneath One UI is a kick in the balls for Google. Samsung are a third-party that builds on top of Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code, they have no reason to be so far ahead of Google. I cannot understate how bad this is for Google as a company.

They have no credibility. They consistently shut down services with no recourse and little notice. If they want to fix this problem, I think they need to get aggressive and do the following two things:

  1. Google must match software and hardware support for the Pixel 6 and 7 series, as well as the Fold and Tablet, to that of the Pixel 8. 7 years total, across the board, from the original launch date. They need to prove their commitment to their Tensor hardware and software experiences, this is how they do that. I’m not saying they need to bring every feature (that’s certainly not feasible), but if some Pixel 8 features can run on Pixel 7, there’s no reason they can’t run on Pixel Tablet or even Pixel 6 depending on complexity.
    • Pixel 6 has barely received any new features besides OS updates since launching in October 2021. It is planned to be barred from feature updates in October 2024. That is unacceptable.
  2. With Android 15, non-Tensor Pixel devices will be unsupported on Google’s own flavor of Android (“stock” as it’s commonly called). This is the perfect opportunity to reimagine feature drops. Put more in there for those on older devices! Keep them alive and kicking. Not forever, but at least until the end of their limited shelf life. Less e-waste is a great thing for the environment, you know!

Google has a bit of a reputation problem. I don’t know if they have a team in charge of killing services or something, but it seems to happen a lot, and there’s a graveyard dedicated to them at this point.

I hold Rick Osterloh and Dave Burke, who essentially lead Pixel and Android respectively, in high regard. They’re awesome to the Android community and always have been! But, they need to get on their A-game if they want to restore their reputation. Articles like this one from Android Authority, which accuses Google of breaking their promises, shouldn’t be cropping up. It’s time to take control and do right by their consumers and community.