Android chief working on smoother updates, fine with Facebook Home

Sundar Pichai also says he believes Android and Chrome should stay separate, despite both operating systems falling under his control.

New Android chief Sundar Pichai.
New Android chief Sundar Pichai Stephen Shankland/CNET

Android head Sundar Pichai might be new to the job of leading Google's mobile operating system, but he's already working at improving the update process for that software.

In a Wired interview published Monday, Pichai acknowledged that update paths to new versions of Android can be difficult, but that he and his team "are thinking about how to make Android handle updates better."

"We see ways we can do this," he told Wired. "It's early days. We're talking with our partners and working our way through it. We need time to figure out the mechanics, but it's definitely an area of focus for me and the team."

Pichai became Android chief in March when its former leader, Andy Rubin, suddenly announced that he was stepping down to work on other projects within Google. Pichai previously ran Google's Chrome and Apps divisions, and still does so today.

Despite the increased workload and the obvious complement between Chrome and Android, Pichai told Wired that he doesn't see his company moving to combine the two platforms. For now, Pichai says, that's not changing.

"Android and Chrome are both large, open platforms, growing very fast," he said. "I think that they will play a strong role, not merely exist. I see this as part of friendly innovation and choice for both users and developers."

Finally, Pichai touched on Facebook Home, the new platform from the world's largest social network that runs atop Android. He stopped short of saying that Home will be a success -- "time will tell." But Pichai said he is happy to see the social network bring Home to Android first. Still, he cautioned that Google's charge going forward will be to create a more consistent experience for users. And Home, which effectively takes over the operating system, may seem like it doesn't fit with that.

Pichai, though, was quick to point out that, for "right now," his company doesn't plan to involve itself in any way with what Facebook is doing.

"We are excited they've done good work," Pichai said.

 

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