Code Bytes: According to Codearth Report a small and stealthy group of engineers within Google has been working on software that they hope will eventually replace Android, the world’s dominant mobile operating system. As the team grows, it will have to overcome some fierce internal debate about how the software will work.
According to Bloomberg, the prime motivation behind Fuchsia is to create a single operating system capable of running all of Google’s own products, from Pixel smartphones to Google Home smart speakers, as well as third-party devices that rely on Android/Chrome OS.
The plan is to embed Fuchsia in connected home devices within three years, and then move on to larger systems like laptops.
The project, known as Fuchsia, was created from scratch to overcome the limitations of Android as more personal devices and other gadgets come online. It’s being designed to better accommodate voice interactions and frequent security updates and to look the same across a range of devices, from laptops to tiny internet-connected sensors. Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai has set his company in this direction — toward artificial intelligence services that reach consumers everywhere. Yet its prime operating systems, which depend on scores of hardware partners, haven’t kept up.
Additionally, Google believes that Android, which was developed just when smartphones were getting touchscreens, isn’t equipped to handle the voice-based apps and OS capabilities that Google envisions as the future.
Consequently, Fuchsia is being developed with voice-interaction capabilities at its core.
Fuchsia can also adjust to various screen sizes, which can help it cater to a vast range of products from TVs to refrigerators.
According to one of the people, engineers have said they want to embed Fuchsia on connected home devices, such as voice-controlled speakers, within three years, then move on to larger machines such as laptops. Ultimately the team aspires to swap in their system for Android, the software that powers more than three quarters of the world’s smartphones, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The aim is for this to happen in the next half decade, one person said.
Reportedly, the development of Fuchsia has also seen some internal feuds at Google.
Some of the privacy principles that Fuchsia developers are enshrining have already come into conflict with Google’s business model – tighter privacy envisioned in Fuchsia would negatively impact Google’s ads business which uses user data for targeted advertisement.
In one such clash between advertising and engineering, the ad team prevailed.
Android is also the subject of regulatory scrutiny and legal squabbles for the company, which means any changes to the software will be closely watched. European regulators on Wednesday levied a record $5 billion antitrust fine against the company for using the mobile software to spread its services. And within Google, Fuchsia already faces some internecine squabbles over how it should be designed and deployed, particularly when it comes to privacy features.
Publicly, the company points to Fuchsia as an example of its freewheeling approach to creative products. “Google views these open-source experiments as an investment in innovation,” a company spokesman said in an email. In 2015, Lockheimer wrote a blog post that said the company had no plans to replace its Chrome operating system with Android, a position the Google spokesman said still applies today.
However, it would be naive to assume that Fuchsia is just a basement project.
Reportedly, despite not charting out an official roadmap, CEO Sundar Pichai has already voiced his support for the project internally.
Additionally, a new, more robust OS would enable Google to compete more closely with Apple, whose operating systems already boast better performance, privacy, and security than Android or Chrome OS.
Source: NewsBytes and The Mercury News