Should developers embrace the Google Android platform?

From the very start, Google established itself as the leader in web search and user experience. And over the years, Google has also become known as a big proponent of open-source development. Open-source developers love Google — Google provides stipends to students to extend open-source projects, like Joomla, provide API’s through Google Code for developers to integrate Google services and host world-wide coding competitions to recognize top developers (see Google Code Jam). If you’re an open-source developer, why wouldn’t you embrace Google?

Yesterday, a new mobile app called Google Goggles was made available for the Android mobile platform (not be confused with beer goggles). The app allows mobile users to snap a picture as a means of starting a search (see video here). It is a revolutionary concept that is only made possible by the fact that more than half of all mobile phones have cameras (see Wikipedia). This announcement comes on the heels of annother annoucement made just two months ago for another Google app for the Android that provides turn-by-turn directions, which many predicted will kill GPS devices (see Engadget). Clearly, Google’s army of internal developers have been hard at work beefing up the capabilities of their mobile platform.

While it is wonderful to see Google pushing the envelope, it is disappointing that they’re also leaving the open-source community out in the cold to fend promote their own apps. It is interesting strategy when one considers that Apple promotes the heck of out of apps built by other developers (see see the “There’s an App for That” video below) and Apple has proven their model. Even though competition is fierce on the iPhone platform and Apple takes a 30% cut on my app, Apple won’t compete with me — Apple has my back!

If I’m a developer, I’d think twice before jumping on the Android bandwagon.