back to article Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data

Much has happened since Google unveiled the Pixel 2 before Christmas, when it was instantly crowned the best cameraphone on the market. Like the magic fairy, Google has activated the phone's previously dormant Visual Core chip, speeding up HDR+ images and machine learning routines. Google either forgot about this at launch – …

  1. James 51 Silver badge

    This article has given me the final push to put lineageOS on my S6 this weekend.

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      I've been using LineageOS/CyanogenMod without GApps on Galaxy S series phones since the beginning and can heartily it to recommend others. I'm currently using the LineageOS MicroG variant (same can be achieved by manual configuration but why make work for yourself.) Adding F-Droid gives plenty of useful (and not so useful) apps, including Yalp Store which gets you into Google Play without your own account.

      tl;dr - Do it! You won't regret it.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Me too. I heartily second your recommendation.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Most of the slurp is in Settings > Google and in Google apps like Photos, and we have to trust Google do what the toggle switches say and nothing else not covered by them (like, eg. find out your location anyway as was revealed not long ago).

      There's an alternative for every single Google app, but Play Services is the huge binary blob in the room.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        I have switching it, uninstalled a lot of apps but can't but help think that privacy boat leaks like a sieve.

  2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    ZTE and Huawei - the tip of an iceberg?

    The US has effectively destroyed ZTE for supplying phones to Iran and are now coming after Huawei on what may or may not be trumped up charges. The unanticipated side effect may be that Chinese manufacturers start to build a totally non-US phone system, which, given the nature of the Android system, could involve their own fork of Linux and their own middleware. Perhaps they would be more enthusiastic about it than Samsung are with Tizen. Perhaps they could have a word with the people at BlackBerry or one of the Finnish alternatives.

    I know I'm going to be told that all this can be avoided by using iPhones, but many people run Google services on iPhone.

    To a certain extent China holds the US hostage - the threat of closing down an Apple factory or two on health and safety grounds, for instance - and a complete meltdown is very unlikely, but the Google strategy at a time when Facebook is having to answer hard questions could come back and bite someone.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

      Apple does not have any factories in China. All their manufacturing there is done by other companies.

      This is well recorded by this fine site in many articles.

      "Apple, the Foxconn rebadger" or words to that effect have been used many, many times.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

        Apple isn't the legal owner, but they gave Foxconn a load of money to cover the cost of building the factory in exchange for the right to receive stuff produced by it, so in economic terms, it is basically their factory.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

          katrinab,

          We don't know Apple's contract terms. One of the things Tim Cook did very well, when he was Steve Jobs' chief elf, was to deploy Apple's vast cash reserves as a way of making manufacturing cheaper. He'd buy up a few billions worth of components in advance, to bugger the opposition and get a fixed price - or lend money to suppliers in advance to get cheaper overall costs.

          And I'm sure they still do that. But leaving Foxconn probably isn't more than a year's work. They may even be able to do it quicker - as they often test out other manufacturers and suppliers.

          Apple have over $100bn in the bank. If the excrement hits the fan they can just buy themeselves a manufacturer - or buy a plant off one, as that wouldn't require all the regulatory approval and paperwork. It would wipe a hundred billion off their share price, and maybe as much as $10 or $20 billion off their revenue for a year - but they'd survive. China might find itselft with a few million suddenly unemployed and unhappy workers on their hands though. It might have no effect, or it might bugger China's economy in the way that all the various seizures of corporate assets have knackered Russia's.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

        But it's designed by Apple not Foxconn. Who cares where it is made.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re:Who cares where it is made.

          Anyone with at least a little empathy?

      3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

        Apple does not have any factories in China. All their manufacturing there is done by other companies.

        Yup and with Foxconn moving to Wisconsin (They must either like Cheese Curds or they didn't care for Illinois' politics) The phones could be manufactured in the US...

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

          "The phones could be manufactured in the US…"

          Yes, but they'd still be made from parts sourced in Asia on machines made in Asia. The saddest thing about the US manufacturing sector is it has been losing the ability to make things as companies shift manufacturing to places such as China. For any manufacturer it's most convenient to be close to most of their suppliers. The US has been hemorrhaging everything from raw material supply to modern electronic component manufacture. President Trump may be trying to correct some of that, but his methods are generally ham-fisted and it may also be too hard to accomplish in one elected term which is about the maximum amount of time that anything can take to do before the next herd of incompetents moves into the capital and does their best to undo what the last batch did. American consumers are so used to buying imported crap at this point that they may have forgotten what real value is.

      4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

        "Apple does not have any factories in China. All their manufacturing there is done by other companies."

        But that does nothing to invalidate my argument, which was not about whether or not Apple is the de facto owner of a Foxconn factory, but about how much trouble there could be between the US and China in a trade war. If it pleases you to pick nits, of course you are free to do so, but your post doesn't actually shed any light on anything of importance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the threat of closing down an Apple factory

          Someone mention empathy? Pretend it didn't happen, i can't be arsed to look it up.

    2. HausWolf

      Re: ZTE and Huawei - the tip of an iceberg?

      While it might take time and money to spin up new or find replacement facilities China is just as much at the mercy of their biggest consumer if they wish to keep their growing middle class happy. As far as closing any of the Foxconn facilities, they make stuff for all the major IT companies so that is a no go also.

      This saber rattling between the two is amusing to watch if it wasn't so dangerous to the worlds stability.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      "Non US phone system"

      You haven't been paying attention, China created their own non US phone system half a decade ago. Very few Android phones sold in China include Google anything - they take the open source part of Android and layer Chinese alternatives like Baidu, WeChat, etc. Google lost that market years ago, and even if China and the US became better friends than the US and UK they'll never get it back. The Huawei and ZTE situation will not affect this at all, because it can't get worse.

      As for Apple, I'm sure they've got contingency plans on contingency plans for what happens if the Chinese government created a disruption to iPhone manufacturing. While it would undoubtedly be painful for them in the short run it would be 1000x more painful for China in the long run! They'd leave China behind, which even for a company the size of Apple would just be a blip on an economy the size of China's, but they would be the tip of the spear.

      Companies relying on Chinese manufacturing would realize if they're willing to interrupt manufacturing for a company the size of Apple, they'll do it for anyone. There would be a stampede of companies taking their manufacturing out of China, and their economy would crater. China knows this, which is why it won't happen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Non US phone system"

        "...which is why it won't happen."

        In a trade war, anything can happen.

        I'm not sure why people think economic retaliation, ie sanctions or embargos, are only a trade war. It's WAR, just without the violence. With all the people of those countries, not just their rulers.

        And one day, affected countries will wake up and realise this and retaliate with force. Just like Germany did.

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    It's not for me then...

    No headphone jack, no removeable memory, no removeable battery, & priced like a kilo of cocaine? Not for me then.

    And that always listening & you can't turn it off bit? I can see how well THAT would play in places where $Vocation-Client privacy are a legal issue that Google *will* lose against. Go ahead, tell that lawyer how you literally recorded their every word, uploaded it to your servers, & have deep mined the hell out of it to "provide a better experience". Guess what? Not only will the lawyer NOT be impressed with that argument, they legally *can. not* allow you to get away with such a thing. And that client you've just recorded without their knowledge & consent? You had better hope they weren't a violent person on the hook for something attrocious, they may decide *you* are the next victim to add to their list. I'm not advocating that violence, merely pointing out that such a thing is possible if the client is mentally unstable, a psychopath, sociopath, or similar.

    Or anywhere that has a Security requirement. Normally places like that tend to just ban *all* electronic devices to be sure, but if they do allow you to take your phone in, how happy would they be to find out that your phone just engaged in (industrial) espionage? You were talking to the lead researcher on the project & discussing the details of $SuperSecretNotYetPatentedGizmo & suddenly find out that one of Google's affiliates has beat you to market with your own stuff?

    Or you go into that CxO-only level meeting, lay your phone on the desk, & have it upload the fact that you've all just admitted to being guilty of something? How well would that go over?

    Obviously this phone isn't for me, I'm not the target market (rich & stupid?) so will be voting with my wallet.

    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the "dumb" phone in the pocket... with the headphone jack, SD card slot, & swappable battery that lasts over a week on a charge. *Blows a feisty raspberry*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not for me then...

      A mate of mine who does R&D for the Ministry of Defence was issued an iPhone running Blackberry management software. Prior to that, they'd given him a Blackberry phone.

    2. Alan Watson

      Re: It's not for me then...

      Except of course you can turn off the always listening stuff. And the "now playing" feature, which the reviewer said this about, is local to the device: it uses a database of signatures on the phone and does not communicate with Google servers (it even works in airplane mode). But you can turn it off anyway.

      Of course if you actually want it to respond to "OK google" then it will have to listen for the keyword, but that's the same as any other voice-activated assistant (including the fact that it only starts to send data after it detects the keyword). And that can all be disabled as well (forget incompetents on reddit saying they can't, they obviously just don't know how to do it).

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Except of course you can turn off the always listening stuff.

        Yeah, of course you can. Just toggle that little switch in the settings.

        Wanna buy a bridge?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not for me then...

        "but that's the same as any other voice-activated assistant"

        Hopefully it doesn't have a security bug like the Amazon Echo that allows malicious apps to eavesdrop on everything.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not for me then...

        It's actually off by default. Funny that wasn't mentioned....

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: It's not for me then...

          > It's actually off by default. Funny that wasn't mentioned....

          That's just on the review versions they know they'll be giving out to journalists. :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "priced like a kilo of cocaine"?

      You need to introduce me to your dealer.

    4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: It's not for me then...

        "Which is why when someone decided to rampage at YouTube, I was disappointed at the low body count."

        Stupid remark, and in poor taste.

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: It's not for me then...

          Some people seem to think the "post anonymously" button is for when you want to behave like a dick.

          It's not. Stop it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: behave like a dick

            Sorry for being an asshole. I'm not getting any so I take it out on random strangers on the internet.

            Yes, I'm aware how pathetic that is.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not for me then...

      No headphone jack, but this means it's not a £900 smartphone sporting a 2c integrated DAC. You clearly don't understand how important a quality DAC is for serious music. Listen to a pixel2 with the bundled inline DAC and compare it to literally anything with an integrated DAC and it's not only significantly better, it's also upgradeable...

      No removable storage. I guess you never tried managing application storage locations ehen low on space or having to shuffle stuff around, or waited for dog slow (about 10x slower) SD storage interface... Who even needs more than 64gb??? Are you seriously trying to store your entire digital life on your phone? Do you know how dumb that is? Have you not heard of selective sync in Android apps?

      No removable battery. Really? Enjoy your chunky turd. As long as it's cheap enough to replace, who cares if you got to take it into toen for 10 minutes in 3 years time...

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: It's not for me then...

        "Listen to a pixel2 with the bundled inline DAC and compare it to literally anything with an integrated DAC and it's not only significantly better"

        I have, it's not. But even if is was, it still has all of the other annoying issues that come along with Bluetooth.

        "Do you know how dumb that is?"

        No, and you haven't explained. Why is it dumb?

        "Enjoy your chunky turd. As long as it's cheap enough to replace, who cares if you got to take it into toen for 10 minutes in 3 years time..."

        My current Galaxy has a replaceable and is no thicker than other high-end smartphones on the market. And, you're ignoring use cases where carrying a spare battery for extended runtime away from a place you can charge is useful. (Battery banks can do this, but come with the downsides of being bulky and having to wait for the phone to charge.)

        I get the these features aren't useful to you, but to claim that they aren't useful to lots of other people is just incorrect.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not for me then...

          "I have, it's not. But even if is was, it still has all of the other annoying issues that come along with Bluetooth."

          Huh???? It's clear you don't even know what a DAC is, this is nothing at all to do with Bluetooth, it's to do with moving the important part of the WIRED signal path outside of the phone..

          It's obvious you weren't comparing onboard DAC to inline DAC, as you thought it was something to with Bluetooth. Go back and try the listening test when you understand it.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: It's not for me then...

            Calm down, there. We're talking about bluetooth earphones replacing wired earphones. With the Pixel 2, the DAC must be in the bluetooth earphones. I was in no way saying that the DAC was part of the bluetooth communications protocol itself.

            "It's obvious you weren't comparing onboard DAC to inline DAC, as you thought it was something to with Bluetooth."

            No, it has something to do with the bluetooth earphones that devices such as the Pixel 2 require -- they require an inline DAC. You're right, that concept is distinct from Bluetooth itself, but they both exist in the same piece of equipment in this case. I was talking about the equipment overall.

          2. elaar

            Re: It's not for me then...

            So your argument is that it's best not to have an internal DAC, because there's a small percentage of purchasers (that consider themselves "audiophiles") that would like to use an external one? Well that's convenient for the rest of the population.

            You imply that external DACs are often better, this often isn't the case. What method of clock locking is possible between the Pixel2 and an external DAC for example? The protocol (I2C for example), What's the type of crystal and accuracy in the Pixel2?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's not for me then...

              External DAC are always better. There is already an internal one in the pixel2, as it got speakers, and it's the same integrated WCD9xx that is part of the main Snapdragon (or whatever) SoC. It's cheap and nasty and just good enough. An external DAC is infinitely better.

              We aren't even talking adapters here anymore, there are now native USB-C headphones on the market, so those that don't even understand the technical advantages of having a key part of what makes audio sound great, part of your headphones and not your phone will eventually understand...

          3. phr0g

            Re: It's not for me then...

            You should go back to Pink FIsh or whatever asylum of "golden eared" snake-oil consumers you come from.

            Not heard such a crock of shit for quite a while. Let me guess, you think vinyl sounds better too?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's not for me then...

              Yes, but does a DAC float in water?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not for me then...

          "... use cases where carrying a spare battery for extended runtime away from a place you can charge is useful. Battery banks can do this, but come with the downsides of being bulky..."

          Indeed, hiking the Appalachian Trail, the advantage of a replaceable battery over a battery bank is well over 10x on weight per charge. This is an environment where hikers spend large amount of money to save a few ounces using high-tech lightweight gear.

      2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At the AC, Re: It's not for me then...

        You're telling the blind guy about audio quality? Do you also try to teach your grandmother to suck eggs?

        You say my desire for an SD card is stupid because the interface is slow, but then extoll syncing to a cloud. I'd like some of whatever it is you're smoking, I'll have it tested to find out what colour it is in your world.

        You call my phone a "turd"? At least MY dumb piece of shit lasts a week on a normal charge, came with a headphone jack, that SD card slot, a removeable battery, AND was able to have the integrated screen reader turned on by the manager of the store when I bought it. A pseudo smart phone that has none of those hardware features, a non Haptic touch screen, and couldn't be made to have a workable screen reader by that same manager, that costs 10x as much *if not more*, is the REAL piece of shit.

        I can see where others would want a smartphone that didn't need the accessibility bits turned on, didn't mind being required to recharge their headphones to listen to music/movies in private, didn't care that they *had* to have a viable cell signal in order to change the files currently available for their movie/movie play list, & think nothing of having to recharge their phone twice a day, oh an can afford to drop nearly $1K on a phone would think those bits are acceptable. I can see that this phone would be for them. Which is why I titled my post the way I did.

        I may be the blind person in this discussion, but *YOU* are the one that refuses to see that such a device is notfor everyone. It's certainly not for me. You know, like I titled my post?

      3. Chet Mannly

        Re: It's not for me then...

        "Listen to a pixel2 with the bundled inline DAC and compare it to literally anything with an integrated DAC and it's not only significantly better"

        How about an LG V30 with it's quad DAC? You can keep your bluetooth mate, I'll stick with 24bit wired connection thanks...

    6. Orv Silver badge

      I wonder how this plays in places that require consent from all parties for a conversation to be recorded? There are a few such "two-party" states in the US. I may have consented to have myself recorded, in a click-through agreement, but the guy chatting with me hasn't.

    7. Bitbeisser

      Re: It's not for me then...

      "No headphone jack, no removeable memory, no removeable battery, & priced like a kilo of cocaine? Not for me then."

      +1

      While I could in worst case do without an headphone jack, I like to be able to replace and aging battery and absolutely need the ability to add a microSD card to my phone...

      1. Oneman2Many

        Re: It's not for me then...

        Are there any high end phones with removable batteries these days ?

    8. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: It's not for me then...

      Or you go into that CxO-only level meeting, lay your phone on the desk

      I wonder if Trump has one of these? I know he had Samsung phones at one time (almost certainly as bugged as these phones)..

      I bet the Secret Service are having 500kg kittens at the prospect.

      (Mind you, anything he thinks ends up geting spaffed all over Twitter anyway so the damage might not be as severe as I first thought)

  4. Oddlegs

    "The Apple "tax" is the price you pay for privacy"

    If you genuinely believe that then you've really drunk the kool aid. iPhones track 'significant locations' just the same as android does. Siri has the ability to listen constantly as well. Apple (and Microsoft if anyone had their phones) are just as invasive to your privacy as Google and that's even before we start considering that most people have Facebook and a whole myriad of other tracking apps installed. At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      re: At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

      Unless you're at the top levels of Google management how could you know that?

      I think kool aid is more popular than you think.

      1. Oddlegs

        Re: re: At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

        Likewise for Apple. Sometimes it's 'better the devil you know...'

        Personally I'm looking forward to GDPR. Journalists all over Europe will be asking tech companies to divulge exactly what they're storing about us. I suspect we'll be horrified (if unsurprised) at the results.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup, Apple are collecting the same stuff and monitizing it the same was as Google are. You only have to read both privacy policies to see there is literally no difference. Apple know that nobody bothers and nobody will call them out on their privacy claims (and if they do, they have plenty of sweeteners)

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Mushroom

      @Oddlegs

      Actually Apple does collect a lot less data about you than Google does.

      Its a well known fact. Yes FB and other app providers also slurp data, however you can control which apps you put on your phone and its not the underlying OS that is doing the slurping. So its Caveat Emptor

      As to your comment about Siri, you have to push the button to get Siri to listen. Not always on.

      @Andrew Orlowski, while I like your article and writing, this is a few years too late.

      Everything you've printed is true and it has been well known for years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: @Oddlegs

        "Actually Apple does collect a lot less data about you than Google does. Its a well known fact."

        Please cite, as that is how facts work. It's not a fact otherwise, it's what you want to believe...

    4. hoola

      Apple?

      And why do we believe that Apple are not collecting just as much data? They may not be selling it on but I would suggest there is a very good chance they knew just as much as Google, Facebook et. al. They simple have not been caught (yet).

      All these tech outfits are ultimately the same and should not be trusted.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Apple?

        Apple will have laid themselves wide open to a massive class action law suit if they are selling user data when they have gone to great lengths to publicly assert that they don't.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Apple?

          Google doesn't sell your data, per se, they "sell" you as an advertising target but the companies that advertise with them don't literally get a list of names with a complete list of what each person searched for, locations they've been, etc.

          Apple doesn't sell any ads, so they literally CAN'T monetize your data in the way Google and Facebook do. Conspiracy theorists like to claim "yeah maybe they don't sell personalized ads based on your data but they still sell it to others" without providing any evidence. I could claim that Google sells the search terms of grade school kids to cereal companies and toy manufacturers, and be equally credible.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Apple?

            "Google doesn't sell your data, per se, they "sell" you as an advertising target but the companies that advertise with them don't literally get a list of names with a complete list of what each person searched for, locations they've been, etc"

            True, but that's a distinction without much of a difference. Although it is better than if they did sell the raw data, it's not that much better. The data collection, storage, and mining is still unacceptable. Particularly given that these companies combine their own data collection with offline data collection so they can track you both online and off.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple?

            Apples privacy policy states they do monitize anonmyised data, as does Google.....

            https://www.apple.com/uk/privacy/approach-to-privacy/

            "Advertising

            Ads that are delivered by Apple’s advertising platform may appear in the App Store or News. Ads in the App Store and in News are marked so you can tap to see why you were served a particular ad."

            Hmmmmm, so Apple have an advertising platform???? They are also very clever by mixing privacy and security in their privacy statement, let's of confusing technology buzzwords to hide the real nuts.....

            They also tell any government whatever they want to know, including but not limited to, location history

            https://www.apple.com/uk/privacy/government-information-requests/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple?

          Nobody is selling user data, not Google, not Apple, not even Microsoft. Go read their privacy policies,

          Google specially state:

          "We do not sell your personal information to anyone

          Much of our business is based on showing ads, both on Google services and on websites and mobile apps that partner with us. Ads help keep our services free for everyone. We use data to show you these ads, but we do not sell personal information like your name, email address and payment information."

          So obviously your rules apply here, they can't do this, or they will be opening themselves up to huge lawsuits....

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Pixel Camera processing...

    ...can be side-loaded onto some non-Pixel phones, according to threads over at XDA Developers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Pixel Camera processing...

      Wow, you can download a hardware cpu that delivers 24 trillion operations per second... Can you give me the download link please?

      https://www.androidauthority.com/pixel-visual-core-808182/

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Pixel Camera processing...

        The Pixel photo *processing* can be done on Snapdragon or Exynos SoCs. The extra *processor* in a Pixel 2 can be used to *accelerate* this processing, but it's not required - indeed, as the article notes the extra silicon wasn't enabled when the Pixel 2 was first launched.

        https://www.xda-developers.com/google-camera-mod-exynos-portrait-mode-galaxy-s8-s7-note-8/

  6. Chris 125

    It's a bit tinfoil hat though, isn't it?

    I mean, I'm one of 2 billion active Android users (source: Google, naturally). So I can't believe there's a folder on a share drive somewhere with all my data in that someone opens every now and again for a laugh. "Oh my, he uses xhamster? Pornhub is way better!"

    So what would they use it for? Target advertising I guess. Knowing what websites/food/music/films/porn I like gets me served adverts with familiar things in rather than random adverts. Because they're never going to not show adverts so why not make them at least relevant? This is what I signed up for when I opened my Google account - "free" access (rather than free access) to mail, videos, news, whatever.... fully aware that my payment to them is in the form of snippets of info.

    Some of it is genuinely useful. I like to look back at my location history when I'm filling out mileage claims (or just waking up from a GREAT weekend). Gmail's spam handling is one of the best around.

    I'm not going to trot out the "nothing to hide" line as I can hear the sound of frenzied keyboard tapping already. But it's more a case of "who cares" anyway. I'm a product, I admit it. I get things out of them in return. I know it's not a popular approach, especially on this site, but it's true. You buy Android and you agree to trade a bit of info for free services

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      " I like to look back at my location history when I'm filling out mileage claims (or just waking up from a GREAT weekend)"

      Slight GLITCH in the Matrix there, I reckons.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      So what would they use it for?

      It's a good question that's very difficult to answer. The biggest risk is what happens if someone else gets hold of that information?

      Personally, apart from the AI stuff, I don't think Google is that fussed about individual behaviour. Yes, it does want to be able to target ads more effectively, particularly in YouTube, I think, but it also seems more interested in the aggregate information. For example, it recently started including information about how often people spend in particular shops in search results. I can easily see how it can build on this and sell it. Think, for example, of knowing how long people have to wait for something in a location. Or, how much a business might pay to know how many customers visit a competitor, how long they stay and presumably soon, how much they spend. This should be more profitable than scrambling ever harder for our limited disposable income.

      1. Wily Veteran
        Big Brother

        Once *somebody* slurps data, *anybody* can get it via hacking (criminal or state-sponsored), sufficient cash, or legal compulsion (National Security Letters anyone?).

        Even if Google is on the side of the angels and only uses what it has slurped for benign purposes, they still have it and someone with nefarious purposes can get it if they have the tools and try hard enough. That is the problem.

    3. agatum

      "Oh my, he uses xhamster? Pornhub is way better!"

      So what would they [google] use it for? Target advertising I guess.

      You guessed right. And when some blackhat gets that data guess what he/she will use it for? Blackmail. Enjoy your new google clusterfuck.

      1. Ygvb

        And you think blackhats can't do that no matter what device you use?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You know what anonmyised data is right? You might want to take of the tin foil for a moment and educate yourself on all the big privacy policies. None of them store information on YOU, you are anonmyised and then monitized.

        It's all here, and understandable by everyone except outlier cretins.

        https://privacy.google.com/how-ads-work.html

        Sorry if this doesn't fit the agenda...

        1. James 51 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Netflix learnt to their cost that data can be de-anonymised:

          https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/12/anonymity_and_t_2.html

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          "None of them store information on YOU, you are anonmyised and then monitized."

          That's funny! Awww, so cute! And sooo naive!

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            re: You know what anonmyised data is right?

            Yeah, it's one of two things. It's either effectively anonymised and effectively worthless (oh, a list of geographic points with no connections between them or times attached? Useless) or not effectively anonymised and valuable. As soon as patterns become visible they can be mapped to real life and the anonymisation is compromised.

            There's articles on here all the time about boffins sticking so called "anonymised" data back together.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              How is anybody going to get this data?

              Let's say you hack into Google's internal network, and have the run of the place. Your data, and the data of two billion other people, is in there somewhere. It seems highly unlikely they have an internal web site where you can plug in a person's name and see a link "click here to download DougS.zip" to get everything they have on me.

              Let alone getting it all. Even at a lowball estimate of a megabyte per person that's going to take a LONG time to download the whole database. With a 10 gigabit link running full bore you're talking like three months - and you better have a large datacenter handy to store it all!

              1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: How is anybody going to get this data?

                I don't know how you do your calculations, but 10Gb/s is roughly 1GB/s, so 1000 users' data per second if a user has 1MB of data. That's 3.6 million users per hour. 360m in 100 hours, so 500 hours would give you 1.8b users' data. Assuming the data is only 200kB, it would only take 100 hours, or about 4 days. Perhaps the interesting data is only 20kB? Then it would take just 10 hours.

                In the CA example they got some 87m users' data out of what must have been a rather slow process. That was worth millions of dollars to CA (Robert Mercer, really), for some reason.

      3. Chris 125

        "You guessed right. And when some blackhat gets that data guess what he/she will use it for? Blackmail. Enjoy your new google clusterfuck."

        Blackmail? Where will they go with this AMAZING information that a grown adult knows where to find pornography on the internet?

        My wife? She knows. She has her favourite videos I have mine, and in the middle of that venn diagram the magic happens.

        My work? They can probably guess. If nothing else it'll tally up with various claims for high speed hotel internet going through expenses.

        Meanwhile, someone with a wonderfully locked down Blackberry/LineageOS/Apple or whatever is having *exactly the same information stolen* from their ISP. My point was what would Google use it for, and whilst our opinions of the multicoloured monolith are all different I really doubt they're going to sidle up to my wife at work with a load of search history printouts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You guessed right. And when some blackhat gets that data guess what he/she will use it for? Blackmail. Enjoy your new google clusterfuck."

          Blackmail? Where will they go with this AMAZING information that a grown adult knows where to find pornography on the internet?

          Step 1: Local your wife using Google/ Ads / Your Company Profile

          Step 2: Ransom you to pay or they tell her you like xhamster more than her

          Step 3: ????

          Step 4: Blackmail Success

          Seriously though, you use xhamster? Pornhub is way better! /joke

          1. Chris 125

            "Step 4: Blackmail Success"

            Blackmail fail. She already knows. You can't blackmail someone that doesn't keep secrets.

      4. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Oh dear...

        "Blackmail."

        How do you make it through a single day? :(

        El-reg can we have a rolling eyes icon please?

    4. Ygvb

      "You buy Android and you agree to trade a bit of info for free services"

      You seriously think it's any different with another OS?

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Meego and BB10 (okay BB10 asked but if you said no it meant no).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Android has a "no" option right at the start of setup. If you say no, it means no. Don't expect to be able to get Gmail, Google docs, play store, free Google music storage for 50k songs, free cloud storage, free cloud picture storage (full res uncompressed for pixel owners), maps, translation tools, or any of the other stuff on offer.

          The deal is very clear, and it's totally your choice. Google obviously aren't going to offer that lot for free. You either pay for apps for business (which gets you all that for a monthly fee, with no monitizing), don't take the deal and don't use those apps, or agree to the deal...

    5. Orv Silver badge

      The thing that made me stop and think was an incident in North Carolina where the police got a warrant requiring Google to give them a list of everyone who was near the scene of a particular crime. That's getting a little scary. I turned off location history after that, although I remain unsure if that's enough.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did Google give up the data? I mean I asked El Reg who Orv was and they told me to did off....

        Anyone can ask anything...

        This whole thread is depressing, it's serious tinfoil hat brigade, FUD, basic failures to read and understand privacy policies, and frankly an embarrassment for anyone that considers themselves technically competent.

        1. Tim Seventh

          This whole thread is depressing, it's serious tinfoil hat brigade, FUD, basic failures to read and understand privacy policies...

          Umm, reading privacy policies? Anyone that considers themselves technically competent reads source codes and network connection logs. When we see a connection that we didn't specify command it to connect, it's phoning home. It's not FUD when we see the connection log gets longer by the millisecond.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Apple care constantly sending stuff to iCloud that you didn't ask for. You need to read the privacy policy to understand what thapey do with it. Answer: same as Google...

            The only difference is that it's optional on "Google Android", if you opt out and just use Android, you aren't signed into any account and there is no tracking going on.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              re: use Android, you aren't signed into any account and there is no tracking going on

              Yeah, Google Analytics cookies are stopped by you not signing in on your phone.

              Good one!

        2. Orv Silver badge

          Did Google give up the data?

          "Google did not confirm or deny whether it handed over the requested data to police."

          -- https://gizmodo.com/north-carolina-police-issued-sweeping-warrants-to-searc-1823845667

          If they refused, they'd be talking about it as a PR move. The most likely possibility is they did hand it over, and the court order included a gag clause preventing them from talking about it.

          The order was a doozy, by the way -- everyone within a 17 acre area surrounding a murder scene, including businesses and residences. That's a pretty large dragnet.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        "I turned off location history after that, although I remain unsure if that's enough."

        Of course it's not enough. I'm sure it only turns off your access to any history.

      3. Oneman2Many

        stupid really, they are better off going to the carriers. Met police liaise with carriers and have ability to track down any phone in London within 5 minutes. Its supposed to be for serious crimes, don't know what authorisation they need.

    6. JohnFen Silver badge

      "It's a bit tinfoil hat though, isn't it?"

      "Tinfoil hat" is used as a synonym for "paranoia". Paranoia is an unjustified fear of something. Pervasive data collection is a fact, not a paranoid delusion.

      But, really, it doesn't matter -- the point is that if I don't want my data collected, no matter how innocuous the purposes it's put to, then I should be able to prevent the collection.

      Also, once collected and combined with other data, it's not going away. It could be the more altruistic thing in the world today, but a change in management or business direction tomorrow could instantly transform it into the exact opposite.

      "I get things out of them in return."

      Fair enough. I don't. Or at least, what I get 'in return" is nowhere near worth what I'm giving up.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Experienced critics?

    You'd really need to read what many people think of DPReview on photographic forums...

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Slx

    I know we all love to hate Apple, and there's plenty of things that I can think of about them that annoy me, particularly the way they've become quite arrogant since things really took off.

    However, at their core (If you'll pardon the pun), they're a 1970s/80s vertically integrated computer company and one of the very few examples of one that still exists in that space.

    Comparing them with Google is really impossible as they don't operate in the same business model. There's some bit of overlap with Google attempting to push into the hardware market and obviously Android's THE big challenger to Apple's ecosystem, however they're as similar as Google and are to Sony or Bang and Olufsen.

    Likewise the comparisons with Samsung, a company that makes everything from pharmaceuticals to ships, to washing machines to smartphones, is also a bit ridiculous.

    Most of the other phone markets are effectively like PC makers, producing generic flat black devices with mostly Qualcomm chips and Google software. Whatever badge and tweaks they have they're, it's very much like the "Wintel" arrangement with generic X86 PC hardware running Windows as their OS.

    Also, I would just say that Apple have had plenty of opportunities to delve into "big data" but haven't either because they don't have the ability to or they don't have the inclination to. I suspect, it's a bit of both. However, they have been offering pretty respectable cloud services since at least 2000. I remember iTools which had many of functions of Dropbox 18 years ago. The only issue was it was mostly built to fit with OS 9 and OS X. They also have a history of chopping and changing services and abandoning customers who've started using them, as was the case with iTools when it become MobileMe and so on.

    I think if Apple toned down the arrogance and the pomposity and rediscovered the fact that it had a great fan community and dev community, who were always enthusiastic they would go a lot further. They need to stop doing crazy things like throwing sue balls at fan-sites and so on they would actually have a far stronger future as they genuinely have some decent (if expensive) products.

    They also need to stop doing stupid things like abandoning pro users. I am still using Aperture for example, as there's nothing really as slick to replace it.

    1. Ygvb

      You think your privacy/data is better kept on an Apple device?

      Hahahaha

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Go for a deep dive on the Apple privacy policy. They monitize the same way as Google do, just not as good at it..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever'

    This is a well written but deeply-depressing-read. Its like 1984 where they relish the death of the orgasm. Its pretty clear we are in a 2 horse race now. People who care and are aware (follow the Reg or read the occasional warning article on TheVerge / Bloomberg or other sites). i.e.

    Surveillance capitalism/We are the native people's now/Data is Destiny

    Then there's everyone else... Willingly enslaved. Selling us out because of poor Privacy choices! We're just caught up in the net because we happen to run in the same circles by fluke or by birth. This is beyond bias / hating of tech firms, this is real! Its just sick / sad how long any of this has taken to get exposure. Thiel-Palantir - Zuk - Page/Brin and Schmidt are looking down from their ivory towers celebrating the death of the 'privacy orgasm', their boot stamping on a human face - forever'.

    Because that's what Surveillance-Capitalism / Data-Slurp is - forever!

    =

    "What follows over the next few pages is not just a product assessment, but an attempt to see what the product means at a historical moment in technology: where the elites and possibly the public too become aware of the true cost of personal data processing. For Google now has a class-leading data collection tool. What's it going to do with it?"

    "Now please park for a moment the idea of whether you think Google is "evil" or not. The power to identify the location of almost every individual instantly is the power totalitarians dream about. The pertinent question is whether anyone should have so much power.

    'With the political and media classes only just waking up to what Facebook has been doing for years, Google has an interesting choice to make. Google could restore consumer confidence in the company, and stay one step ahead of the regulators, if it saw it as a aid to radically improve personal data protection. Or it can carry on boiling the lobster."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever'

      We use == for comparison, what you've got there is assignment.

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: We use == for comparison, what you've got there is assignment

        Must be a VB guy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Must be a VB guy.

          Worse! C#!!!

          And JS (but we use === with that, more is better!!!).

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever'

      "Its pretty clear we are in a 2 horse race now."

      Yes, and both horses suck. This is why I'm getting out of the race entirely and won't be purchasing any smartphones in the future. At least not until/unless a reasonable one actually manages to make it to market.

  12. pw201

    Wifi doesn't work with BT or Virgin Media routers

    In the February security update, Google introduced an interop problem with BT and Virgin routers (among others), where wifi data stalls even though the status bar indicates a good signal. Rolling back to January fixes it, but the phone won't stay rolled back, as it installs updates without asking. The much-vaunted updates are no good if they're inadequately tested and don't work with routers from big ISPs.

    There's an issue open in Google's Tracker at https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/73336431 which they're studiously ignoring, with plenty of Virgin customers complaining.

    On the plus side, I suppose it's not giving all your data to Google when it can't stay on the wifi :-)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boiling a lobster

    You lob the lobster into already boiling water. The point is to kill it (quickly) and cook it (although frankly given raw lobster is delicious why would you?).

    Boiling a frog on the other hand is a slow gradual process that allegedly it doesn't notice before it's too late.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boiling a lobster

      Yes - the apocryphal story is about boiling a frog slowly as a metaphor. Boiling a lobster is just cooking.

      1. Chris 244
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Boiling a lobster

        Not in Switzerland. There it is a crime.

  14. ecarlseen

    Still with the removable storage thing?

    One thing I never see mentioned with the MicroSD or whatever removable storage in smartphones is speed. A very high-end MicroSD card will give you data transfer rates of "up-to" 275/100 (read MB/s / write MB/s). The flash memory in an iPhone X is real-world benchmarked at 1213/536. This is not a minor or subtle difference - it's not just 4-5 times faster than any MicroSD card made, it's better than high-end workstation-class SSD storage like the Samsung 860 PRO lines (and don't get me started on endurance differences vs. removable). Using a MicroSD card in a high-end smartphone would be like buying a Lamborghini that arbitrarily has to spend most of its time in first and second gear. It makes literally no sense.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Still with the removable storage thing?

      It's the concept of tiered storage that some people want. iPhobe storage is very fast indeed, which is essential for some video capture modes and lets apps load near instantly. However, it's overkill for music and video libraries - where people will happily swap speed for capacity.

      Generally, those phones that make a point of high-resolution slow motion video capture (high end models from Samsung and Sony, for example) will have very fast NAND storage.

      Anandtech conduct their own tests of phone storage speed.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Still with the removable storage thing?

      I'm not stupid enough to run apps off of SD. That's not what it's for.

      No, since Google removed the ability to mount the phone as mass storage, it's a pain in the ass to transfer things. Not as bad as an iPhone, but still difficult.

      I want an SD card so I can copy my images to it to put on my PC, or copy PDFs onto it to read at lunch.

    3. pleb

      Re: Still with the removable storage thing?

      Unlike a Lambo, bragging rights is not the only factor at stake with storage. I've known two phones die with loads of photos locked inside. One reason why mine are all on the SD card. How much faster than fast enough they get there, I don't care. And yes, it's backed up to a NAS as well, before you jump on that one.

    4. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Still with the removable storage thing?

      "Using a MicroSD card in a high-end smartphone would be like buying a Lamborghini that arbitrarily has to spend most of its time in first and second gear. It makes literally no sense."

      You are making the assumption that it's MicroSD vs. Internal Storage.

      No, it's MicroSD vs. online storage.

      What was that about speed again?

  15. Wily Veteran
    WTF?

    Just Pixel?

    How much of that truly-invasive slurping is Pixel-specific? How much is attributable to Oreo? Are older versions of Android just as screwed by Google Play Services or are they a bit better?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just Pixel?

      You press cancel on the sign-up like every other android device made in the last 10 years.

      Don't expect to be able to use any Google apps however. The deal is very clear. Android does not track you, and you are free to use android without any of that. If you want the Google apps that are part of Google services, that is a different story. Sadly there are still people that don't understand the difference, despite it being really easy to comprehend.

      1. pleb

        Re: Just Pixel?

        Actually, I could use a primer here. Google apps? What are they, for example? I don't use Chrome or Gmail etc, I actually prefer the Samsung 'crapware' alternatives. Does using the Play app store fall into the category of 'Google apps'? What exactly am I saying goodbye to if I " press cancel on the sign-up"?

        Which makes me curious - the author implicitly prefers the slurpy Google apps when he characterises the alternatives as 'crapware', even whilst writing this anti-slurp manifesto. Contradictory?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just Pixel?

          Well, for starters there's GBoard, the google keyboard. That phones home unless you know to go into the settings and tell it not to. It's for your own good to leave it on though, obviously!

          Anyone who genuinely thinks a single check box stops Android phoning home is delusional.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Just Pixel?

            If any good comes of the whole Facebook debacle, beyond posturing politicians, hopefully it will be some laws that require that single check box that stops "phoning home" - and that if you want to enable some restricted phoning home (like a 'find my phone' service) it can't require you to re-enable everything only the minimum required to perform the requested function.

            That's how I'd prefer to operate all modern "phone home" type devices/software. First, hit the big red button to disable everything. Then, when stuff doesn't work I can give it permission to enable the minimum to get stuff I want to work working again.

            Sort of like how iOS does app permissions - they install with no permissions, but if it wants to access photos it will tell you and you can accept or not, but if you do it doesn't also get the ability to listen to the microphone since that's a separate permission, Its certainly not a perfect solution, but a damn sight better than the typical "opt out" strategy for privacy that most devices/software practice.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: Just Pixel?

            Gboard isn't installed by default, it's certsinly not part of Android. AOSP has "Android Keyboard", a totally different app.

            Gboard doesn't send every keystroke back to Google, that is utterhorseshite.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just Pixel?

          It's simple, press cancel during sign-up, if you ever try to use a Google app that is not part of AOSP, it will ask you to agree to the policy and sign in to a Google account. You can of course say no again and exit out.

          In short, no maps, no Gmail, no Google photos, no play store, you can sideload alternatives fdroid a open source store.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I stopped reading at

    "This entailed a significant price hike"

    Clearly Pixel2 hardware specs are high end, way higher than Nexus devices which were mid range. To pretend otherwise is clearly clickbaiting...

    It's pathetic DAB orlowski all over again .....

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: I stopped reading at

      I think the point of the article is that Google want to have their cake and eat it. Apple appears to have stopped at cake acquisition.

      1. Simon Taylor 1

        Re: I stopped reading at

        A common misqoute. "Having your cake and eating it" is really simple. The proverb is "eating your cake and having it." "Having your cake and eating it too" is also functional.

        I'll get my pendants coat....

        1. David Nash Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: I stopped reading at

          "Eating your cake and having it" makes much more sense but I have literally never ever heard or seen it used. The standard phrase is "having your cake and eating it" and we all know what it means.

          Better than saying "could care less" though.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: I stopped reading at

            ""Eating your cake and having it" makes much more sense"

            Apparently that is the original version, before it somehow changed.

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: I stopped reading at

        "I think the point of the article is that Google want to have their cake and eat it. Apple appears to have stopped at cake acquisition."

        So...Google is like Boris Johnson and Apple is like Rees-Mogg.

        Now I'm not sure which one to hate most.

    2. Synkronicity

      Re: I stopped reading at

      What's high end about the Pixel 2 other than the camera? No headphone jack, the same Qualcomm processor, the same NAND memory, the same Gorilla Glass, the same LTE modem, and the same OS as every other Android phone. The Nexus 5 had high end specs for midrange price. It was the whole point of the Nexus line. The corners were cut with build quality -- and the build quality of the Pixel 2 is a joke (awful screen, terrible industrial design, QA issues). So is the Pixel 2's camera worth several hundred more than the exact same phone made in China minus the imaging processing?

      If you kept reading the article you'd come out less like a moron.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I stopped reading at

        More memory, custom silicon for picture processing OLED display, solid body construction. No Nexus had any of these.

        Nexus was mid range, pixel 2 is clearly high end, but costing several hundred quid less than competing high end phones....

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          Re: I stopped reading at

          Several hundred quid less than other high-end phones that cost several several hundred quid more than what is common sense.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I stopped reading at

      the bit where you didn't bother to read the article you're commenting on but still expected us to care about your opinion of it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hmmm

    A very contrived "article" that has a clear agenda. Lot's of misinformation, like forgetting to mention the listing to and identification of music is OFF by default, and if you use it (which I do), the music fingerprint database is on the phone, and nothing is sent externally, this is made very clear when you enable it.

    The exact wording is here, and is pretty clear: https://9to5google.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/pixel-ambient-services-android-apps-on-google-play-2017-10-04-08-36-52.jpg

    1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      @Fred West: I beg to disagree. The wording does not look very clear to me, and it certainly does not say that nothing is sent externally. It says only that "songs or conversations" are not sent "to Google". That may well mean something different in Legalese than what you think it means in English.

      It also does not say a few important things. For instance, I indeed assume that constantly sending all the ambient audio to "the cloud" would take a lot of BW/power/etc., and I don't expect it, maybe naively, to be done for that reason at least.The wording does not say, however, that the song titles are not collected at leisure.This is an unclear bit, and my paranoid mind tells me that the information may be potentially useful for "targeted advertising". Nor does it say that samples are never collected.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        What sort of targeted advertising? If you had the misfortune to work at a location with background music not to your taste, getting advertisements assuming that background music is what you like is money wasted by the advertiser.

        I suspect it would be more useful for determining TV viewing habits, as there is still encoded into movies, TV shows (even the ads during them) that allow audio fingerprinting software to tell what you are watching even if you're over at a friend's house. Just because the fingerprinting happens locally doesn't mean Google isn't collecting the data daily and saving it along with all the other megabytes of personal info they've collected on your that helps advertisers target you more precisely: "we want males age 30-40 who watch Fox News or American Idol" etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm

          Nothing it hears is sent to Google, what part of that did you fail to understand? It's also off by default to stop upsetting cretins that can't read, or believe everything they read on the internet.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm

        Of course this is total horseshit, as what music my phone can hear is mostly meaningless, given that Google music knows the music I choose to listen to.

        I'm concerned there is works shortage of tin foil, given the people here. I guess they need to satisfy themselves their £500 apple tax was worth it, and then apple would never do any of this stuff, despite their privacy policy saying otherwise...

  18. Ygvb

    Oh yeah so with other handsets (apples and pears altogether), you DON'T give all your data to Google and pals?

  19. Franco Silver badge

    You can use other apps rather than the google defaults, and can disable permissions to apps on a granular basis. I don't and never will use Google Pay for example. Don't use gmail or chrome either.

    Haven't yet found a way to stop it nagging me that I've hamstrung it though....

    Oh, and Google have limited wireless display to Chromecasts only which is annoying.

  20. howieb2001

    Strange that El Reg is so late to the slag off the Google Pixel party.

  21. Simon Taylor 1

    It's a sad outcome of reality distortion that given Apple and Googles privacy statements are to all intents and purposes the same, that so many people believe that when you toggle the switch on Android, it doesn't do what it says it will but when you do it on iOS, it will.

    Apple is no different to any other commercial OS provider. Profit and shareholder satisfaction are numbers 1, 2 and 3 on their KPIs. Caring about you and the fluffy things come somewhere around 172 on the list.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      While that may be true, Apple isn't an ad broker. Remember, Google's main business is selling ads. All the other stuff just lets them collect data to target the ads better.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Apple are an additional broker, they clearly mentioned it in their privacy policy, which I assume you have read....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Hmm

    "Imaging site DxO puts the Pixel 2's camera a full 10 points behind Huawei's P20 Pro triple-sensor shooter in its much-quoted benchmarks"

    9 points actually, and i point above the £1000 iPhone X.

    109 Huawei P20 Pro

    102 Huawei P20

    99 Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

    98 Google Pixel 2

    97 Apple iPhone X

    Not bad for a phone that is less than 2/3 the price...

    (64GB iPhoneX, £1000, 64GB Pixel 2 £600)

  23. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Any diffs you see in those images can easily be adjusted for in post processing.

    Probably best not to try to judge a camera without understanding photography.

  24. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Like a fine wine

    Or some other cliche, you improve with age Andrew.

  25. ecofeco Silver badge

    Fools and their money

    I will never pay more than $100 for a smart phone. Yes, I know I sound like a broken record, but I never get tired of telling people they are being ripped off.

    Each year, the new $100 phones are better than the $500+ phone from 2-3 years ago.

  26. Patrician

    The person that wrote this article seemed, to me, to have an agenda; basically stated it is, Apple good Google bad!

    While I fully accept that it it pretty near impossible for any human to write a completely impartial article, I would like to see at least an attempt at writing one.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      The person that wrote this article seemed, to me, to have an agenda; basically stated it is, Apple good Google bad!

      While I fully accept that it it pretty near impossible for any human to write a completely impartial article, I would like to see at least an attempt at writing one.

      You must be new here.

      Basically Andrew has had a thing against Google for a long time, and basically he can't stop it spilling over into his 'impartial' phone reviews

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "Apple good Google bad"

      As it has turned out, that's pretty close to the truth, though.

      Apple is expensive, however. We pay in other ways for using Google stuff.

  27. silks

    GDPR

    You can trust Google's Android, they defo won't suck up all your data like Facebook...

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