Nothing in this world is free. Whether or not you pay for something with money, you always pay. Google has built a massive empire that revolves around this concept. Nearly all of the services it offers are “free,” from search and email to calendaring, mapping, productivity software and more. But none of those services are actually free — Google collects and analyzes all sorts of crucially important private data about its users in order to help profile them and serve them advertisements that are better targeted than any other ad platform in the world.
The Android platform is also “free” for Google’s vendor partners, but Google is not a charity. Its entire model revolves around a tradeoff: companies can use Android and have access to the Play Store for free so that Google’s various services are front and center among their users. Now, the European Union has charged Google in an antitrust case alleging that Google’s Android platform breaks the law. More →